MHA | What are Make UK’s Industrial Strategy recommendations?

What are Make UK’s Industrial Strategy recommendations?

Chris Barlow · August 16th 2023 · read 2017 UK Industrial Strategy aimed to boost productivity by backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure. In March 2021, the strategy was withdrawn, in favour of the governments ‘Plan for Growth’.

However, as the global landscape evolves at an unprecedented pace, UK businesses have criticised the lack of a clear industrial strategy to address the numerous challenges and opportunities the sector faces; especially in light of the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to draw green investment and a similar initiative being introduced by the EU. This, coupled with fierce competition from France and Germany, who themselves have comprehensive industrial strategies has led Make UK, the leading industry body representing over 20,000 manufacturing businesses, to formulate a comprehensive set of recommendations for a UK industrial strategy.

These recommendations aim to foster innovation, enhance productivity, and cultivate a resilient industrial ecosystem capable of weathering future disruptions. It calls for the establishment of a Royal Commission to focussed on developing a long term, modern industrial strategy and a new Industrial Strategy Council to independently monitor progress. The key proposals and their potential impact include:

Prioritisation of Research and Development (R&D) to drive innovation and technological advancement. By allocating resources towards R&D, the UK can create an environment conducive to breakthrough discoveries, cutting-edge technologies, and disruptive solutions. This emphasis on innovation will help British manufacturers lead the way in emerging sectors such as clean energy, artificial intelligence, and advanced materials.

Enhancing skills and workforce development, emphasising the urgent need to bridge the skills gap and invest in training programs to equip workers with the competencies required for the industries of the future. It advocates collaboration between businesses, educational institutions, and government entities to establish apprenticeship schemes, vocational training initiatives, and lifelong learning opportunities to develop a well-rounded and adaptable workforce capable of meeting evolving market demands.

Incentives and supportive policies to foster sustainable and green manufacturing to help meet climate change targets and promote sustainability. Make UK recommends tax incentives and grants to encourage manufacturers to adopt green practices, reduce carbon emissions, and transition towards clean and renewable energy sources.

Embracing digitalisation and leveraging emerging technologies to optimise operations and enhance productivity. Utilising technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), automation, and data analytics to streamline processes, undertake predictive maintenance, and improve supply chain management, through investment in robust digital infrastructure and expanding access to high-speed internet across the country.

Focus on international trade and collaboration, recognising its significance for the growth and prosperity of the UK manufacturing sector. Make UK recommends that the government establishes favourable trade policies, reduces trade barriers, and fosters strong bilateral partnerships. Encouraging collaboration between businesses, universities, and research institutions at a global level to drive knowledge sharing, facilitate technology transfer, and develop innovation clusters.

Make UK’s industrial strategy recommendations offer a roadmap for building a resilient and prosperous future for the UK manufacturing sector. By prioritising R&D, strengthening skills and workforce development, fostering sustainability, embracing digitalization, and facilitating international trade and collaboration, the UK can position itself as a global leader in innovation and manufacturing excellence. Implementing these recommendations will not only ensure the sector’s success but also contribute to economic growth, job creation, and long-term sustainability.

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