The coalition government announced on Thursday that the rural economy, skills and SMEs are to become the new focus of its Growth Review in its effort to restore the economy’s strength.
After Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne set out the Budget earlier this year, the next stage of the review is to concentrate on eliminating barriers and encouraging greater investment in UK infrastructure, examining businesses that have expanded beyond SME status and considering how to increase the number of firms that show visible growth at this level.
This is all positive news for manufacturers, as John Cridland, CBI director-general said: ““It’s good that the government has recognised the importance to the economy of mid-sized companies with the potential to grow fast and create jobs. These companies can be economic dynamos, but as we have said the government’s emphasis has traditionally been on smaller firms, with mid-sized companies a forgotten army in the UK.”
However, he called for caution regarding finance for such firms: “The government also needs to look closely at news ways of accessing finance for mid-sized firms, how they can export more and what can be done to remove barriers such as regulation or tax.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable visited the Rolls-Royce factory in Derbyshire where the next phase of the Growth Review was launched. On his visit, he said: “We are seeing the evidence this week of successful rebalancing of the economy towards exports and manufacturing, with the announcement of major commitments from Nissan and BMW, and today the commitment from Rolls Royce to an expansion of their apprenticeship programme.”
Over the next two months, the government is to publish a new presumption in favour of sustainable development, further expand the University Technical College programme, reform the UK’s competition framework and publish the government response to the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth.
The second phase of the Growth Review will involve an intensive programme of engagement with business over the coming months. Based on the evidence collected, action plans for growth in each review area will be presented to a Ministerial Group chaired by the Chancellor and Business Secretary, with final plans due for report in the autumn.