Carol Monaghan, MP for Glasgow North West, has led a Westminster Hall debate on the UK Photonics Industry, which has been hailed “a good 25 minutes for Photonics.”
With contributions from SNP colleagues Joanna Cherry QC MP and Patrick Grady MP, the debate followed the establishment of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Photonics, which has seen cross-party support from MPs throughout the UK. It is now fully registered and included on the parliamentary list of approved APPGs.
Monaghan, a former physics teacher and a member of the Science and Technology Committee, brings first-hand experience of science to Westminster.
The Photonics Industry is a growth sector in the UK with more than 1,500 companies who employ over 70,000 people with an output of £10.5bn. The industry has experienced a sustained growth of 6-8% per year over the last 3 decades. More importantly, the Photonics Industry enables other industries to be competitive with 10% of overall UK jobs depending on it.
The Photonics Leadership Group, a not-for-profit organisation representing the UK Photonics industry, will provide administrative support for the APPG and will assist the elected officers in managing the group. In addition, the Photonics Leadership Group has set up and will manage the new website.
The APPG for Photonics will hold its next meeting on 21st February 2017 in the Houses of Parliament, with Members of both Houses and from all parties invited to attend. A number of leading Photonics companies will be there to provide hands-on demonstrations of products to raise awareness of the industry.
Commenting, Carol Monaghan MP said:
“Building on the international year of light in 2015, I am delighted to have secured the debate in Westminster Hall for the Photonics Industry, recognising the huge contribution that the light-based technology makes to the UK economy.
“A key enabling technology, encompassing everything from lasers and cameras to lighting and touch screen displays, photonics is critical to increasing manufacturing productivity, delivering efficient healthcare and keeping us digitally connected and secure.
“The UK has long been a hot bed of photonics innovation and many companies, including those in my own constituency, are translating world-leading UK science into globally exported products.
“I want Parliamentarians to better understand where this hidden UK strength is having impact, and how photonics can help our industrial output and economy to grow.”
Speaking after the confirmation of the APPG registration, Dr John Lincoln of the Photonics Leadership Group said:
“Photonics is one of the key technologies of the 21st century, touching every aspect of our lives. Where we need to see, make or change something at a distance; from laser welding of cars to make them safer, lighter and more efficient; to the essential fibre optic network delivering data to us all; or the touch screen on our mobile electronics; photonics is everywhere.
“The UK is a leading manufacturer of photonics with an annual output of over £10bn, over 75% of which is exported, demonstrating the UK’s globally-leading capability. Even when something is manufactured abroad it is often touched by a UK-made laser in the process. We now need to accelerate adoption of light technology by UK manufacturing to boost our domestic productivity.
“The Photonics Leadership Group is delighted to welcome the APPG on Photonics to share our passion and ensure the UK makes best use of our photonics strength.”
Following the debate, Phillip Prattley of Selex contacted the offices of Monaghan and Joanna Cherry QC MP to thank them for their comments during the debate, calling it “a good 25 minutes for Photonics.”
For more information regarding the Photonics APPG, please visit the Photonics Leadership Group website: www.photonicsUK.org/appgphotonics