EEF: Government must speed up plans for a new industrial strategy

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A new report by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and NatWest, has called on the UK Government to speed up plans to introduce a consistent and coherent long-term industrial strategy to ensure that manufacturers’ growth ambitions are fully supported across the pre- and post-Brexit divide. It says that swift implementation is vital if growth ambitions are not to be allowed to fall by the wayside, particularly while the UK steers towards Brexit.

Industry’s call is backed up by a new poll showing nine in 10 UK adults (90%) agree the UK needs a comprehensive, long-term industrial strategy and 86% want the Government to promote a stronger manufacturing base in Britain. The report welcomes the fact that a UK-wide industrial strategy is back on the Government’s table and says that it must clearly set out the Government’s goals for growth, backed by policies which deliver a more skilled workforce; more resilient infrastructure; a lower cost of doing business and better support for growing businesses.

The study – ‘Manufacturing Ambitions: an industrial strategy for a stronger economy’ – shows that three quarters of manufacturers (76%) are going for growth, while seven in 10 (71%) have a three to five year business plan in place to back up their ambitions. Almost two thirds of firms (63%) are focused on driving up productivity, while margins (71%) and sales (64%) are also key targets in manufacturers’ growth plans.

Innovation and the introduction of new business models are coming to the fore as companies pursue growth. Over nine in 10 are either already increasing innovation efforts (63%) or plan to do so within the timeframe of their current business plan (29%).

Supply chain collaboration is however seen as even more critical to growth, with over half of manufacturers (52%) already enhancing cooperation in areas such as production, design and development and a further quarter (26%) planning to do so.

Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF, said: “We need to get this right and we need to get this in place now so that manufacturers’ growth ambitions are supported across the pre- and post-Brexit divide. It is not enough to talk about an industrial strategy – it is time for the Government to draw a line under the stop-go efforts of the past and to demonstrate its commitment to industry by putting some much-needed flesh on the bones.

The full report can be downloaded here

EEF www.eef.org.uk

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