A new report called “Industrial Strategy: A Manufacturing Ambition” has been released by Make UK, the UK’s top manufacturing organisation. According to the report, the United Kingdom’s weak industrial strategy is its biggest weakness, causing the country to fall behind in global competition. To address this issue, the report recommends establishing a Royal Commission on Industrial Strategy.
The report states that more than 99% of manufacturers in the UK think that the country needs a better industrial strategy. However, more than half of them believe that there has never been a strong and long-lasting plan for the development of UK manufacturing.
This blog post will take a closer look at the key findings from the report and discuss why a bold and ambitious industrial strategy is essential for the future of UK manufacturing.
What were the key findings of the report?
The report found that 87% of manufacturing companies believe that having an industrial strategy would provide them with a clear vision for their business in the long term, creating a steady environment for growth and progress. While 56% of firms feel that there has never been a strong long-term plan for manufacturing in the UK.
Furthermore, 14% of manufacturers believe that there was a clearer and more robust vision for manufacturing ten years ago. Additionally, 29% of them attribute the slow growth of the UK manufacturing sector in the past decade to the absence of an industrial strategy.
What key areas would the UK like to see as core focuses?
The report also outlines main priorities that UK manufacturers are suggesting the core focuses of the 2023 UK Industrial Strategy should be. More than 50% of the surveyed companies prioritise skills and innovation as a central focus, whereas nearly 50% prioritise digitalization.
Additionally, those same individuals would like to emphasise the importance of a green transition. The requests aim to show their desire to get the UK manufacturing sector ready for the future, by bridging the skills gap and prioritising innovative technologies, sustainable manufacturing practices, and renewable energy.
Manufacturers outline their ambition:— Make UK Campaigns (@MakeUKCampaigns) May 9, 2023
1. The ambition is to create a long-term industrial strategy, where technical and management skills are the core priority of that strategy, followed by innovation, green transition and digitalisation. #manufacturingambition pic.twitter.com/mVTm1Y3AMf
Is the UK at a competitive disadvantage?
A far more striking finding to the report is that 80% of UK manufacturers believe that they are less competitive than other manufacturing nations that have industrial strategies. It is now evident that UK manufacturing cannot compete with other countries without an improved, more robust industrial strategy.
According to the report, there is a need to establish a Royal Commission on Industrial Strategy without delay and to develop a modern industrial strategy that is both bold and ambitious, in order to steer the UK towards success.
What are the opinions of manufacturing companies in other countries?
According to a survey, 75% of UK companies believe that Germany offers a better environment for the manufacturing sector compared to the UK. Also, 43% of the firms stated that the United States of America had a more favourable environment, while 30% cited France as a better option.
Furthermore, 75% of companies believe that an industrial strategy should be ensured beyond the terms of the Government and administered by a separate, distinct entity.
What could happen if the UK doesn’t improve its industrial strategy?
Without an improved industrial strategy, UK manufacturers are at a significant risk of further falling behind their international competitors.
The report argues and demonstrates that this risks the UK’s ability to compete in global markets, and could have serious long-term consequences for the UK’s economy, jobs market, and future growth opportunities.
It is clear that if the UK doesn’t take action to develop a long-term vision and plan for the future of its manufacturing industry, it risks not only losing out on economic growth but also on job creation. This could have far-reaching impacts on the UK’s industrial landscape and ultimately, its citizens.
It is therefore essential that the Government takes steps to create a bold and ambitious industrial strategy to put the UK’s manufacturing sector back on track, by doing so will ensure long-term growth and prosperity for the nation as a whole.
Ultimately, the time to take action is now!