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On the 14th of March 2017 Simon Reid of the Liverpool City Region LEP attended a roundtable at the House of Commons on behalf of the LCR 4.0 partners. The event, held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), was invitation only and entitled “The rise of the machines – a discussion on tech, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and what it means for the UK”. Speakers included Matt Hancock MP the Minister for State for Digital and Culture, Louise Haigh MP the Shadow Minister for Digital Economy, Hugh Milward the Director of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs at Microsoft and Alan Mak MP (Chair).

The discussion was wide ranging taking in the infrastructure challenges the UK faces in mass adoption of 4IR (the roll out of 5G for example) as well as the skills implications behind the move to digital technologies in industry. There was also debate about how industrial areas of the UK with a rich heritage of industry have significant growth opportunities by supporting the roll out of digital in manufacturing. The invited audience, made up of representation from technology companies like Cisco, the Catapult network and Innovate UK debated how the Government can best support the development of 4IR, especially in relation to SMEs.

Simon Reid said “I am delighted that LCR 4.0 has been recognised by Government and asked to contribute to such an important discussion at Parliamentary level. The LCR 4.0 program was put together to tackle many of the issues articulated in this debate – skills, productivity and place for example and I believe the Liverpool City Region is a national example of best practice regarding 4IR engagement with SMEs. The UK has lower levels of automation than say, Germany, so it is not simply a question of connecting devices that are already producing data…with UK SMEs there is the more fundamental issue of some legacy equipment not yet capable of producing data. Having Sensor City as one of the LCR 4.0 partners gives the Liverpool City Region a significant advantage in this regard as we can take “dumb” processes and work with companies to digitise them”.

LCR 4.0 will be exhibiting at the formal launch of the 4IR APPG on Monday the 20th March where the Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond MP will be the keynote speaker.