Manufacturing Policy and Industrial Strategy have been one of the most hotly debated topics of the since the great crash of 2008/9. That is true not just of the political sphere but more widely too. The question of what sort of economy we want to have is one that has been asked repeatedly. The MTA and its members believe that it is in the interests of the UK to gain long-term, sustainable and growing advantage from its manufacturing base. Manufacturing matters becasue so much of the rest of the economy depends on it. While the official statisitcs say that manufacturing is about 11% of the UK economy, that figure doesn't include all the services that depend on manufacturing, it underestimates the impact of the sector. In addition Manufacturing accounts for around 70% of R&D Spending and about half of the UK's exports are manufactured goods. These areas have to be a the heart of an national economic strategy.
Government rightly celebrates the ‘creative industries’. The MTA believes that UK manufacturing is a key creative industry. There is a real opportunity for a truly powerful nexus between our innovative energy, our research excellence and first rate production facilities, to act as a catalyst, pushing UK manufacturing once again to the head of any international league table.
By most international benchmarks, UK manufacturing is doing well; after the declines of the eighties and nineties, the sector is resilient and focussed on strengths. But with better, more focused and directed support and investment, UK plc could do even better. This is not necessarily about ploughing in more funds; it is more about enabling existing investments to be better targeted and spent, on training, genuine partnership between companies and research institutions, and the development of the manufacturing intellectual property that will power our economy.
Manufacturing stands at a point of departure. Technology, in particular digital technonogy, is changing fast and becoming more readily available. There is a huge opportunity for UK manufacturers if they embrace and invest in new technology to massively upgrade their capabilities and to compete and win globally.
The MTA interacts with a wide range of Government and Non-Governmental bodies to promote manufacturing as part of a dynamic modern economy. A range of recent papers, reports and submissions is available for download on the Policy recommendations page. To find out more please contact Paul O'Donnell, the MTA's Head of External Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7298 6400.