19 Aug 2022

The need for a long-term manufacturing plan

Manufacturing plan

Aaron Blutstein, Smart Futures’ Managing Editor, comments on the need for a long-term UK manufacturing plan.

With the election of the new conservative leader and consequently new Prime Minister still weeks away from being decided, manufacturers are stressing that the Future UK Government must move away from short-term, gestures politics. Make UK’s recent Q2 Outlook survey, announced prior to Boris Johnson standing down as Prime Minister, highlighted the need for immediate measures that focused on demonstrating to business and, foreign investors, that it has the capacity to operate in a serious manner with a long-term vision befitting a modern and outward looking Britain.

I agree with the report that the seriousness of the situation and, the prospects for the next six months, means that industry cannot wait for the promised help in the Autumn which the then Chancellor made in the Spring Statement. Action is required urgently. This urgency is highlighted by Richard Austin, Head of Manufacturing at BDO, in response to the report. He commented that rapidly rising input costs, ballooning energy bills and in some cases inflation-busting pay settlements have hit margins and frozen investment plans.

Although the removal of the Prime Minister and ensuing political chaos means that nothing is now possible until September at the earliest, when the new Government does eventually take shape, it should, as reported in the Q2 report, be a priority to help UK manufacturers weather the immediate storm and incentivise investment for long-term growth. In addition, as Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK has highlighted, we also need an immediate and laser like focus on tackling the shortage of vocational skills. This will provide companies and investors with the certainty and confidence they so badly need for a return to real growth.

Company info: Smart Futures