‘Made in Britain’ revival?

Posted on 3 Jun 2011 by The Manufacturer

HSBC has written up a list of seven ‘super cities’ – Bristol’s expertise in high-tech production and Glasgow’s in renewable energy have earned them a place on the list.

Also included in the list are Liverpool, Leeds, Brighton, Newcastle and London. Vince Cable said that the list showed that things were “bright for the future of the British economy”. But if it’s going to happen, some believe the government may need to do more.

After experiencing and being involved in a huge rise in Britain’s services and financial sector, and a move away from manufacturing, the prediction from HSBC is relatively surprising, according to commentators. However the bank believes in what it says: 62% of business leader respondents to HSBC’s survey think the UK is set to return to a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, which is a percentage increase of 18% from 2009.

HSBC also said that the sectors to be most successful are high-tech. 68% of respondents said communications provide the best prospects for growth; others said that biotech would lead the way and a smaller proportion said low-carbon industries will top the list. Other sectors mentioned by the report are prototyping, plastronics and advanced composites.

The predictions made by HSBC label might not be so novel, though. Lee Hopley, chief economist of manufacturing organisation EEF points out that while the industries mentioned sound new, they are currently just making use of the UK’s traditional skills base. Developments in low-carbon technology are building on research and work already done by leaders in the car manufacturing industry for example.

To facilitate the growth of manufacturing and restore it to its previous centre-piece role in the British economy, the government is building 10 new technology innovation centres and investing £1.4bn of Regional Growth Fund money into high-growth technology companies.

George Archer