All Party Parliamentary Group for Photonics is subject of UK Westminster Hall debate

Jan. 25, 2017
Parliament leaders have completed a Westminster Hall, England debate regarding the future of UK photonics.

Today, 25 January 2017, leaders have completed a Westminster Hall, England debate regarding the future of UK photonics. The debate establishes the All Party Parliamentary Group for Photonics to help inform government officials of the important role of photonics in keeping the UK competitive and productive. The debate can be viewed at

Carol Monaghan, Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow North West, successfully applied for the Westminster Hall debate on the UK Photonics Industry. The Photonics Industry is a growth sector in the UK with more than 1500 companies that employ more than 70,000 people with an output of 10.5 billion pounds (about $13.2 billion dollars). 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.

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The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Photonics' inaugural meeting was held in October, instigated by Carol Monaghan MP. The group has cross-party support from MPs throughout the UK. It is now fully registered and included on the parliamentary list of approved APPGs (see

Carol is an active campaigner for science and technology and is a member of the House of Commons' Science and Technology Select Committee. As a former physics teacher Carol brings first-hand experience of science to Westminster and is the SNP group spokesperson on Education.

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 at

The APPG on Photonics will hold its next meeting on 21 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.

Carol Monaghan MP said, "Building on the international year of light in 2015, I am delighted to have secured a debate in Westminster Hall for the Photonics Industry, recognising the huge contribution that the light-based technology - photonics - 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."

SOURCE: UK Photonics Leadership Group;

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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