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Report Reveals Significant Impact of UK Manufacturing on Economy

by Anna

A groundbreaking report, “The True Impact of UK Manufacturing,” set to be unveiled at MACH 2024 in Birmingham, reveals that the manufacturing sector plays a far more substantial role in the UK economy than previously estimated.

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According to the report, conducted by Oxford Economics and the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), the manufacturing industry contributes a staggering £518 billion to the UK economy and supports approximately 7.3 million jobs directly and across its supply chains and communities. This figure represents nearly a quarter of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), significantly surpassing the previously quoted direct contribution of 8.2% by economists.

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The report further highlights that manufacturing accounts for 34.5% of all UK goods and services exports, demonstrating its pivotal role in driving international trade. Additionally, the median wage in the manufacturing sector stands at £31,300, which is 11% higher than the national median wage, indicating the sector’s contribution to higher-than-average wages.

Despite facing numerous challenges beyond its control in recent years, including evolving relations with the European Union, the COVID-19 pandemic, soaring energy costs, global supply chain disruptions, and international conflicts, the manufacturing sector has remained resilient.

James Selka, CEO of MTA, emphasized the importance of addressing the sector’s skill shortages and leveraging successful programs like the High-Value Manufacturing Catapult Centres to enhance wealth creation by commercializing innovative ideas born in the UK.

Selka commented, “Our report provides a comprehensive overview of the direct, indirect, and induced impacts of manufacturing, showcasing its significant economic contributions, complex supply chains, and the beneficial effects of spending by those employed in the sector.”

The report underscores that manufacturing not only drives economic growth but also invests heavily in new technologies, with manufacturers accounting for nearly half (47%) of total Research and Development (R&D) investment. MACH 2024, where the report will be launched, serves as a testament to this investment, with over 500 companies showcasing cutting-edge technologies and solutions.

The MTA is calling for a unified commitment from various stakeholders, including business leaders, academics, and policymakers, to help the industry realize its full potential. While the recent Advanced Manufacturing Plan and its accompanying £4.5 billion support package have been welcomed as positive steps, there is a need for continuous efforts to bolster exports and cultivate emerging technologies and industries.

MACH 2024, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham from April 15th to 19th, is expected to attract over 30,000 attendees from the manufacturing community and feature more than 500 companies. The event, with a strong emphasis on sustainable manufacturing and carbon reduction, also serves as a platform to inspire the next generation of industry professionals, with 3,500 students expected to attend.

Headline sponsor Lloyds Bank and industry leaders have hailed the findings of the report, emphasizing the crucial role of manufacturing in driving economic prosperity and resilience. As the sector navigates ongoing challenges and embraces technological advancements, manufacturing remains a cornerstone of the UK economy, poised to lead the country into a prosperous future.

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