A cross-party group of parliamentarians has launched a pre-election manifesto calling on future governments to ensure Britain’s place as a global leader in manufacturing markets.
Manufacturing Manifesto 2015 addresses what it perceives as the key issues and themes currently affecting UK manufacturing and threatening the UK’s potential industrial growth, including questions over innovation, skills, finance and taxation, energy, SMEs and trade and investment.
The manifesto makes 19 recommendations, including a call for all parties to prioritise the encouragement of engineering and STEM-related apprenticeships, protecting these career paths regardless of the economic climate.
The manifesto calls also for all parties to challenge the negative perception of manufacturing by encouraging and facilitating engagement between schools and manufacturers, and by ensuring high-quality careers advice that understands manufacturing.
The manifesto has been authored and signed by Barry Sheerman MP, Chris White MP, Gordon Birtwistle MP, Caroline Dinenage MP, John Stevenson MP and Baroness Wall of New Barnet, all of whom are members of the All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group.
In a statement, Jonathan Reynolds MP, APMG vice-chair and shadow minister for energy and climate change said: ‘It is a common misconception that the UK is no longer a manufacturing nation. The reality is that manufacturing is a major part of the UK economy, generating good jobs and valuable exports. This Manifesto sets out how UK manufacturing can grow even stronger, something which I hope will become an issue of political consensus in the UK, so that industry can plan for the long-term and we can all secure the benefits of this vital sector.’
The manifesto is claimed to build on the APMG’s 2013 research inquiry and report ‘Making Good: A Study of Culture and Competitiveness in UK Manufacturing’, which warned that UK manufacturing is being restricted by a national industrial culture that discourages companies from investing in vital long-term business drivers such as skills development and technological innovation.