Jack Semple, Secretary of the Engineering & Machinery Alliance (EAMA) has sent us this summary of the discussions and presentations at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool this week.

His top item is the pledge by Rachel Reeves (Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer) to set up a sovereign wealth fund, and to “use all powers at government’s disposal to buy, make and sell more here in Britain”, should Labour get into power.  Reeves, who started working life as an economist at the Bank of England, told the party’s annual conference in Liverpool that “it matters that the UK doesn’t make the blades for wind farms”… that we are “stuck in the slow lane” of battery factories… and that we are not “running with green hydrogen”.

“We have the ability.  But we want the jobs here.  And we want British businesses to take the lead,” she said.

“The next Labour Government will create a national wealth fund, so that when we invest in new industries, in partnership with business, the British people will own a share of that wealth and the taxpayer will get a return on that investment,” she said.

In his speech, Sir Keir Starmer said that Great British Energy would be set up within the first year of a Labour government, to invest in the energy sector.

The other key announcement for manufacturing came from the Shadow Business Secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, who revealed a new industrial strategy, as part of which he committed a Labour government to achieving zero carbon supply of electricity by 2030.

Jack comments that the UK has the potential, and need, for a broad-based revival of manufacturing.  In February this year, the Johnson government identified an imperative to reverse UK manufacturing’s decline but gave no details on how that could be achieved.

Reeves’ comment on the need to make more in the UK is encouraging and something to build on.  Manufacturing firms may have hoped for more about the sector from Reynolds and Starmer, and there is not a lot about manufacturing in Labour’s new industrial strategy.

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