MPI outlines industrial opportunities post-Brexit

Posted on 26 Jul 2016 by Jonny Williamson

The Materials Processing Institute (MPI) has published a report on the opportunities open to UK industry in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and how to realise them.

Brexit Report - Chris McDonald, chief executive, Materials Processing Institute.
Chris McDonald, chief executive, Materials Processing Institute.

The report acknowledges that the Institute had not anticipated the result of the referendum on June 23, but goes on to highlight the opportunities to build on UK industry following Brexit.

It specifically details the potential for further development of existing strengths in product design; engineering; materials, and manufacturing.

In order to achieve this, the report calls on the Government to create a suite of innovation policies, which include materials and foundation industries – areas it says have been historically neglected by UK policymakers.

Chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute and innovation lead on the UK Metals Council, Chris McDonald commented: “In leaving the European Union, the UK will face many challenges, but it also opens up opportunities as we move to an international trade-based economy.”

In order to realise these opportunities, the report stresses the need for a new industrial strategy, which puts innovation at its core – highlighting the need for long term planning on the availability of essential raw materials.

The Teesside-based Materials Processing Institute is a not-for-profit company, which works with industrial innovators to conduct research to enhance materials and industrial processes.

It also continues to make specialist steel at the Normanton Plant at its facility on Teesside.

It also draws attention to the benefits a ‘Materials Catapult’ would bring across the whole of the UK.

The Institute is working with government on such a Catapult proposal and has the support of local MPs and wide ranging cross-party support in parliament, including Stockton South MP and outgoing Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, James Wharton, who has emphasised his commitment to the proposal.

The Institute is also seeking opportunities for early briefings with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Greg Clarke, alongside the new Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Andrew Percy.

McDonald continued: “To broaden the horizons of UK trade, we need, in the first instance, to bridge the gaps left in our industrial strategy by departure from the EU.

“We then need to redouble our efforts to prioritise innovation, putting the UK at the vanguard of manufacturing ingenuity.

McDonald concluded: “Now is the time to take stock of the future direction of UK trade-led industrial growth, and ensure that manufacturing has the capability to surge ahead on the world stage by giving the materials and foundation industries the turbocharge of innovation they need.”