IET urges more support for innovation and SMEs

Posted on 19 Mar 2015 by Victoria Fitzgerald

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has today launched its General Election Campaign with two separate calls on the future government to do more to support UK manufacturing and innovation.

The calls are for increased funding for innovation, for example by growing the UK’s network of Catapult technology transfer centres, and for more help for smaller manufacturing businesses to access the support they need to grow their businesses and create new jobs.

"The big question is why government should help and what help that form should take?"
“The big question is why government should help and what help that form should take?”

The IET urges more support for small businesses to invest in innovation.

Margaret Wood from the IET says: “If we are to have a successful high value added manufacturing sector in the UK we need more of the results of our world beating research to be exploited and developed in the UK.

“By taking positive steps to encourage investment across the whole product development cycle and to help companies in the UK scale up new ideas for commercial success, the Government would enable manufacturing to deliver huge benefits to the UK economy.

“Smaller businesses are often behind the most exciting new innovations, but lack the time and knowledge to access Government support schemes.

“By creating a series of local networks to advise on the support available, the Government could dramatically increase take up for these schemes.

“And, as a result, we would see a far greater number of British ideas being developed and commercialised here – rather than overseas.”

In its General Election Campaign, the IET also calls on the future government to introduce new policies in energy, communications, education, transport and IT to ensure engineering fulfils its potential to boost our economy and improve our everyday lives.

  • Transport: Long-term investment in a connected UK transport system will improve reliability, comfort and speed; reduce congestion and emissions; and avoid big transport investments becoming ‘white elephants’.
  • IT: A single Government department to tackle cyber security, e-commerce and privacy should be set up to create the legislation the UK needs for a 21st Century Digital Economy.
  • Energy: The UK must make energy efficiency a higher political priority and introduce long-term energy policies to enable the UK to become a global leader in climate change mitigation.
  • Communications: The UK needs a reliable broadband service across all parts of the country and to become a global leader in developing the next generation of mobile and fixed networks.
  • Education: To address the engineering skills gap, we need specific Ofsted evaluation criteria to monitor STEM teaching in schools, together with schemes and incentives to promote upskilling and retraining the work age population.