Andrew used Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday to flag the shortages of semiconductors prompted by concerns expressed by a Westbury high tech business.
The issue is a global one which is having direct effects on businesses in South West Wiltshire and securing future supply will be essential for delivering government policies, such as net zero.
“Does my right hon. Friend agree that the success of our green industrial revolution hinges on advancing our indigenous Silicon Valley? Now that we are free of the EU, what fiscal incentives can he provide to make that happen at pace?”
The Prime Minister responded:
“There are some very interesting and potentially very lucrative sources of minerals such as lithium in this country, whose exploration, discovery and reuse we are encouraging. As for the tax point that he rightly raised, we will ensure that we support freeports as hubs for the processing of those critical minerals here in the UK.”
Andrew’s question came after he raised the shortage of semiconductors critical to high tech businesses locally during the Prime Minister’s COP26 announcement last week.
The Prime Minister stated then:
“There are adequate supplies; the problem lies in the supply chains. That is an issue that we are working on, together with our American friends and other partners around the world, to ensure that there is no disruption in those supplies of critical things, particularly semi-conductors.”
Andrew welcomed the references to developing British processing capabilities and working with likeminded partners to ensure supply of tech-critical minerals, as China currently controls both. China is also making inroads at acquiring IP and UK manufacturing capability – including through the purchase of Newport Wafer Fab, Britain’s largest semiconductor plant.
“I have spoken to ministers subsequently about this. I’, asking for greater sovereign capability in critical tech minerals and semiconductors and less reliance on questionable suppliers in challenging parts of the world.”