Comprehensive Spending Review: A call to action

Posted on 30 Sep 2010 by The Manufacturer

TM asks you, the manufacturers, whether the Government ‘gets’ manufacturing, and if not, to take action.

The Comprehensive Spending Review on October 20 will be the most far-reaching and important overhaul of public spending for at least 30 years. The Strategic Defence Review, to be announced near to the CSR, will be the first since 1997 and will dictate defence procurement strategy for the next decade.

The scale of public expenditure cuts that have been set out in the Emergency Budget in June will leave few government-funded programmes untouched. As the cuts approach, the private sector is expected to take up the slack in public sector unemployment.

Manufacturing in some sectors is reaching a tipping point. A globalised, mobile economy means that for many products, a strong market differentiator for British companies is becoming harder to retain. There is a strong sense that this government does not fully understand manufacturing, its long term horizons and most of all just how precariously poised large factions of UK manufacturing are.

The manufacturing trades associations – EEF, the CBI, ADS, SMMT, FDF and more – are frenetically busy submitting appeals to government but this is the age of the Big Society and individual manufacturers’ voices need to be heard to add weight and credence to our associations’ endeavours.

What can you do? Explain to Westminster: what you do; the nature of your industry; the issues you face to be competitive; the tax regime you need to compete on a level playing field. The next three weeks may be the most influential opportunity in your company’s history to talk to MPs directly and make a difference to the UK’s business environment.

The Manufacturer is asking businesses to step forward and act. Write to us, tell us what government needs to know about your industry. Contact us if you are willing to host an MP at your factory and explain to him your business needs. We will cover the visit in the magazine, online and by video both on our website, and other organisations’ websites.

Can all of these really not concern our manufacturing sector?:

• The retirement age for employees being de-linked from the state retirement age with employers losing the ‘business need’ discretion
European employment law and rising bureaucracy from Brussels
• A competitive, simple and predictable tax regime, to prevent the steady trickle of big companies offshoring to cheaper jurisdictions from becoming a flow
Energy supply risk and energy price stability
Capital allowances and its effect on your ability to invest in modern plant
• Simplification of the disparate, confusing business funding mechanisms
• Support for new apprentices to replace the maturing workforce in manufacturing
• 1-in-1 out vs. enforced regulatory budgets
• The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme and its impact on the energy-intensive segment of our manufacturing
• Is the only university research that matters really only that which has a commercial objective at the outset?
• Given the new LEPs are to be business-led and thinly funded, do you want them and how do you want them to work?

This is a golden opportunity to engage with government ministers one-to-one; this is grass-roots, Big Society helping our elected representatives understand what is important to manufacturing.

We intend to give this activity the biggest publicity push possible and will be sending our collated comments to Mark Prisk, the business minister, and Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable. Don’t miss the chance to help government understand manufacturing and its essential role in the UK economy. TAKE ACTION NOW!

Contact us now if you want to get your voice heard in the lead up to these important reviews.

Contact us by email at [email protected] or by telephone on 020 7401 6033.

If individually we shout, then collectively we’ll roar!


Will Stirling
The Manufacturer</b.