True value of UK manufacturing revealed

Vote Manufacturing has launched the Manufacturing Summit - Executive Summary, providing facts and analysis on the state of industrialisation in the UK.

The report, compiled by The Institution of Mechanical Engineers and The ERA Foundation, reveals the scale of Government debt and the importance of re-industrialising the UK. It also highlights the urgent need for a more open minded Government procurement strategy and a greater commitment to manufacturing.

Exports of finished manufactured goods deteriorated rapidly in the decade from 1998 as the exchange rate encouraged imports but presented UK manufacturers with an unrealistic barrier to exports.

According to the summary, the problem has been exacerbated by lack of investment, skills shortages, ill informed Government procurement, legislation, escalating energy costs and a culture too preoccupied by financial services.

Issues such as these, says the report, were to blame for the decline of manufacturing as a percentage of GDP from 20% to 14% over the past decade. In an attempt to make up the deficit in manufacturing, the UK has been forced to sell debt and assets amounting to £700billion in the last decade.

The summary has been launched as a result of The Future of UK Manufacturing Summit held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London on 4 March. The event was attended by key representatives from the UK's manufacturing industry, and identified five key areas that needed urgent attention. The prime concerns were growing skills, political consensus, cultural change, simplified incentives and energy costs. All the key areas are clarified in the Executive Summary.

As a result of the summit, the Vote Manufacturing Campaign was launched, a call to arms for Government support. Campaign director, Ed Tranter, said: "This summary provides a snap shot of the state of manufacturing today and how, through increased exports and import substitution, there is a realistic way forward to a rapid economic recovery. I'm delighted that the IMechE and ERA Foundation were able to provide this invaluable document and I hope that politicians and our industry will Vote Manufacturing."

A pdf of the Manufacturing Summit – Executive Summary can be downloaded below. The Future of UK Manufacturing Boardroom Report is available here.

Author
Chris Shaw

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Do you have any comments about this article?
This document has given the facts to support the feelings we in manufacturing knew existed. We need to pay realistic prices for the goods we purchase and I for one would support a massive tax on all items imported from China and other non-European countries. That way we would level the playing field for UK manufactured products.

Comment Tommy Green, 29/04/2010
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