“My lords, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
Thank you for inviting me to speak at this important event.
As a motor racing man, and as a car man, but above all as a businessman, I am very concerned about the debate in this country over the need to rebalance our economy and reinvigorate our shrunken manufacturing base.
To my mind, this debate is long overdue - 20 years overdue, probably.
From the early 1990s onwards, the UK has focused ever more obsessively on financial services - to the neglect of its manufacturing.
Policy-makers, opinion-formers, market-makers and pundits prized financial engineering, not real engineering.
That wrong turning was at least partly the cause of the financial crisis and economic downturn of 2009, and the legacy of colossal debt that we are still struggling to manage.
Moreover, a generation of graduates aspired only to climb onto the City bandwagon and make their fortunes.
In the face of this, very few sectors of manufacturing and engineering in Britain managed to hold their own, let alone grow.
Meanwhile, in Japan, companies such as Toyota, supported by Government policy, have continued aggressively to reinvest in research and development.
In 2009, for example, Toyota topped the car manufacturers' global R&D league table with an annual R&D investment of £6.4 billion - a 7.6% increase on the previous year.
By contrast, the gross expenditure on R&D in the UK in 2008 was, as a proportion of GDP, just 1.8%.
It was 2.8% in the United States.
Today, despite the very worrying decline in the size of our industrial base in the past two decades, Britain's Formula 1 innovation and engineering strength remain world-renowned and world-respected.
But although I still take a close overview of McLaren Racing, now I am equally if not more focused on a different challenge.
Our new production car company, McLaren Automotive, will be fighting against the established all-foreign-owned brands that have had the global supercar market more or less to themselves until now.
But our cars will be made in Britain, by workers living in Britain.
So McLaren Automotive represents something very special for UK plc.
Not only are we expanding Britain's industrial base, but we are also creating something in a market segment where currently this country has very little.
What McLaren Automotive is doing at the high-value end of the engineering industry, we need other British companies to attempt to achieve in a host of different market segments.
If we do not build our industrial market shares in this way, Britain will simply be unable to generate the growth and wealth it needs to ensure a return to prosperity for our people.
And, as I say, that is why I am so concerned about the nature of the current rebalancing debate.
For the past 10-15 years, the UK, and our Government, have disproportionately focused energies, policies and funding to support the short-term goals and rewards within financial services.
Today we have little or nothing to show for that.