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UK Manufacturers Urge Bold Economic Vision from Next Government

by Anna

Britain’s manufacturers are calling on the next government to adopt an ambitious economic vision that prioritizes the economy across every ministerial portfolio. Make UK, the manufacturers’ organization, has published a manifesto advocating for this vision, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive industrial strategy to be announced within the first 100 days of the new administration.

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Make UK asserts that this strategy should focus on a skills revolution throughout the education and training system, ensuring future talent development and the upskilling and re-training of the current workforce. This approach is deemed essential in light of significant changes in the policy landscape and the need to revitalize the UK economy to capitalize on emerging technologies, infrastructure investment, and the transition to a greener economy.

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To counter the advancements of the US and China in green technologies and enhance the UK’s attractiveness for investment, Make UK outlines five key policy measures to be implemented in the first 100 days:

Announce a Long-Term Industrial Strategy: This strategy should underpin all economic policymaking and have cross-government commitment. It should be supported by reintroducing an Industry Strategy Council and establishing a new Cabinet Office-backed committee to ensure its implementation.

Align the UK CBAM with the EU CBAM: The UK’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism should be aligned with the EU’s in terms of timescale and design to ensure a level playing field.

Review the Apprenticeship Levy: A comprehensive review of the Apprenticeship Levy as a funding mechanism and the wider apprenticeship system is necessary.

Re-establish the Manufacturing Advisory Service: An updated, modern Manufacturing Advisory Service should be re-established to support the sector.

Consultation Mechanism with Industry: Establish a mechanism for ongoing and active consultation with industry to decide on maintaining alignment with EU regulatory changes or identifying opportunities for divergence.

Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, emphasized the critical need for a robust and forward-looking industrial strategy: “The policy landscape in which manufacturers operate has changed significantly in recent years and more changes are yet to come, from the transition to net zero to rapidly accelerating and game-changing technological change.

“To keep up with these changes and take advantage of the many opportunities ahead, not to mention the threats from other countries, we need a vision from the next government which recognizes the scale of these challenges.

“This vision must include a long-term, robust, modern industrial strategy that will withstand political chop and change and go beyond 2030. Any plan should transcend parliamentary cycles, be cross-government, and be driven by industry, for industry.”

Make UK’s call to action underscores the urgent need for a cohesive and forward-thinking approach to industrial policy, ensuring that the UK can navigate future challenges and maintain its competitive edge on the global stage.

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