What the Government's industrial strategy means for UK manufacturing

The UK Government has launched its industrial strategy, a long term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK.

It sets out how the Government will help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK with investment in the skills, industries and infrastructure of the future.

The strategy sets out 5 foundations that will help transform the economy:

  • Ideas: the world’s most innovative economy

  • People: good jobs and greater earning power for all

  • Infrastructure: a major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure

  • Business environment: the best place to start and grow a business

  • Places: prosperous communities across the UK

The strategy will be used to work with industry, academia and civil society to build on the UK’s strengths, make more of our untapped potential and create a more productive economy across the UK.

Read the Government’s white paper on the subject here.

James Selka, CEO of the MTA:

“We welcome the industrial strategy, the importance that the Government has placed on it is a positive sign for UK manufacturing. We are pleased that the Government has recognised that one of the biggest problems of industrial policy in the UK has been that it has buffeted by day-to-day political considerations and has therefore agreed with the proposal of the MTA, among others, to establish an independent Industrial Strategy Council. We look forward to working with the new body to evaluate the success of the industrial strategy, and hold Government accountable over it, over the months and years to come.

“We are pleased that the strategy identifies the Catapults, in particular the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, as one of the most successful innovations of recent years and pledges to improve their funding.

“The Strategy also highlights the Made Smarter Report, which anticipates a Sector Deal for Industrial Digitalisation. The MTA is very supportive of Made Smarter which has the potential to make a real difference to the uptake of, productivity boosting, digital technologies.

“We were disappointed however that the white paper has not carried through the reference in the green paper to the importance of Government supporting trade shows. In sectors such as manufacturing technology these are essential forums for companies to enter, and sustain themselves, in markets.”

Juergen Maier, Siemens UK CEO and head of the Made Smarter Leadership Team:

“The Made Smarter proposals will help business deploy and create the latest digital technologies, helping to secure more homegrown R&D and the creation of new industries and highly skilled well paid jobs. The proposals build on the UK’s natural technology strengths, whilst setting out a framework to encourage entrepreneurs to develop new technologies that help manufacturers. I look forward to working with Government in establishing our commission which starts the process of getting our recommendations off the ground in 2018.”

Darren Jukes, head of industrial manufacturing and services at PwC:

“From last week’s budget and the recent GovTech announcement, it’s clear that the Chancellor is paving the way for the UK to be a front-runner in 4IR and connected automotive and clean energy technology.

“There is a significant focus on integrating construction, digital energy and efficiency technology, a move that will be warmly welcomed by the real estate sector. This will not only incentivise greater private investment in more energy efficient household and commercial building but boost the prospect of a solid domestic and export market for these technologies.

“We're an innovative nation but for many firms, our light remains under a bushel. With last week’s £4.7 billion boost for R&D by 2021 – on top of a £6.5 billion government science budget – fuelling this innovation and talent pipeline, we need to ensure we use this opportunity to revolutionise sector-wide productivity.

"This is against a backdrop where labour productivity in services grew by 0.2% in the last quarter while manufacturing fell by 1.3% – there is everything to play for here. And with Brexit on the horizon, it’s also vital that we capitalise on the potential earning power this generates at home and abroad.

“This industrial strategy shows that this is no longer a futuristic long shot but an industrial impulsion that will put the UK at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) – replicating our influential role in spearheading the very first industrial revolution.”

Tony Hague, chairman of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN) and MD of PP Control & Automation:

“On the surface the industrial strategy looks like great news for industry and seems to focus on all of the areas that will help us improve our competitiveness, including emerging technologies, training and development and support for growth sectors.

The UK is well placed right now to show ambition and the strategy has to successfully engage Government, academia and industry, especially the SMEs that remain the lifeblood of our manufacturing base. My only concern is the ‘how’ – it’s very easy to put a nice document together that says all the right things. I want to understand some of the detail behind the practical application and how it will be rolled out."

Dr Colin Brown, director of engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers:

“The Government’s industrial strategy makes some positive recommendations, with regards to investing in skills and innovation in particular.

“Government needs now to show joined up thinking on how we can deliver on these ambitions. While it is welcome that Government is providing £406 million to help address the shortage of STEM skills, it is vital that this funding is made in the right places. Currently few schools are integrating engineering into their teaching and the wider school culture, which is leading to students developing a vague and incoherent understanding of the profession, its career opportunities and what it does for society.

"With Brexit on the horizon and the ticking time-bomb of the retiring baby-boomer generation of engineers, it has never been more important to think seriously about how to find, inspire and nurture the engineers of tomorrow – how we frame engineering in mainstream school education rather than simply relying on serendipity and volunteerism to inspire the next generation.”

MTA www.mta.org.uk

Siemens www.siemens.com

Manufacturing Assembly Network www.man-group.co.uk

Institution of Mechanical Engineers www.imeche.org


Made Smarter

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