Lord Mandelson addressed the annual trade and industry dinner hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of London at Mansion House on 1 March, highlighting government’s role in securing the UK’s economic growth.Describing the key factors to supporting the UK economy, the business secretary said, “Government needs to lend its energy to the stimulation of new innovation and enterprise from our world class research base and universities. We need to ensure that in a period of reduced funding our universities give increased priority to STEM subjects, and to commercialisation of research, and that our skills system provides advanced apprenticeships and technician training to serve the new industries of the future. “We need to mobilise private and public investment behind Britain’s infrastructure needs and to boost our national supply chain – in digital, in energy, in transport and in low carbon transition.“We have the biggest demonstrator programme of its kind in the world for ultra- low carbon vehicles in Britain – publicly funded. We have announced both support for charging infrastructure and for consumer subsidies for the first generation of mass market vehicles next year. The result: Toyota and Nissan have both announced their intention to base new low carbon operations here.“Britain is the world’s sixth largest manufacturer and our manufacturing output has remained stable in both value and volume over the last decade, despite the fiercest imaginable competition. It remains absolutely central to our export strength.“But if we want to maintain those strengths we have to pioneer advanced technologies and keep investing in the science, research and skills that underwrite them.”Government last week announced a £230 million ultra-low carbon car incentive programme. From January 2011, motorists will be entitled to a ‘Plug-In Car Grant’ of up to £5,000* when buying an electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell car that meets safety, reliability, performance and warranty standards set by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) in consultation with industry.* Motorists will be entitled to a 25% discount from the list price of the eligible car, up to the value of £5,000. Offer of the ‘Plug-In Car Grant’ will be subject to notification of technical requirements to, and state aid approval from, the European Commission.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
The play, written by Howard Barker and directed by Gerrard McArthur, is set in ‘Ancient China’ and features characters with Chinese names.A protest is now planned to coincide with the play’s opening night on January 19. It is not known if Princess Eugenie will be attending.The protest’s organiser Andrew Keates, who is directing a play called Chinglish at the Park Theatre in North London, which will feature East Asian performers, has written an open letter to the Print Room accusing the venue of endorsing the “racist, outdated and unnecessary practice of ‘yellowface’ and instead find actors who are appropriate.”Mr Keates said Princess Eugenie should revoke her patronage of the Print Room in recognition of the controversy surrounding the play.He told the Daily Mail: “As a representative of British East Asians in this country, I do not see how she could lend her name to a theatre that is not supporting racial equality, either actively or through ignorance.”Supporters of the Princess defended her patronage of the Print Room, saying her role had nothing to do with the details of particular productions staged there.Equity, the trades union representing actors and performers, has backed the protests over the casting of In the Depths of Dead Love.Christine Payne, Equity general secretary, says: “This casting clearly shows that the Print Room is not engaging with the industry-wide discussion on diversity.”But the Print Room defended its choice of casting, pointing out that In the Depths of Dead Love is not a Chinese play and that the characters are not Chinese.In a statement it said: “The production references a setting in Ancient China and the characters’ names are Chinese. These are literary allusions in Howard Barker’s fable and never intended to be taken literally.“It is, in fact a very “English” play and is derived from thoroughly English mores and simply references the mythic and the ancient. It has therefore been cast accordingly.”The theatre added: “We understand that some will find such an interplay between cultural reference and artistic imagination troubling. We regret that our initial public announcements about this play were not sensitive to this fact.“The Print Room has long been a champion of multiculturalism and diversity in the arts in London.”Buckingham Palace declined to comment. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. I do not see how she could lend her name to a theatre that is not supporting racial equality.Andrew Keates Princess Eugenie has found herself caught up in an embarrassing racism row over the use of white actors to play Chinese characters at a London theatre where she is the Royal patron.Campaigners have urged her to revoke her patronage of the Print Room at The Coronet, in Notting Hill, after accusations of ‘yellowcasting’.The Princess, daughter of Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York, was said to have been delighted after being made royal patron of the Print Room last month.But the theatre, a former historic cinema which featured in the 1999 Richard Curtis film Notting Hill, has been attacked over casting white actors to play Chinese parts in its opening play, In the Depths of Dead Love.