MPs launch manifesto to drive industrial policy change

Posted on 20 Jan 2015 by Victoria Fitzgerald

A cross-party group of parliamentarians will today launch a new manifesto ahead of the general election, calling on any future government to take what it calls “the necessary steps” to ensure the UK becomes a global leader in manufacturing markets.

The document, entitled Manufacturing Manifesto 2015, addresses what it regards as the key issues and themes currently affecting UK manufacturing and threatening the UK’s potential industrial growth, including questions over innovation, skills, finance and taxation, energy, SMEs and, trade and investment.

The manifesto lays out 19 recommendations across these different issues, including:

  • All parties should prioritise the encouragement of engineering and STEM-related apprenticeships. These career paths should be protected irrespective of the economic climate.
  • All parties should seek to simplify and streamline the process of applying for government support schemes by employing design principles, focusing on the user, from implementation to delivery.
  • All parties should address the negative perception of manufacturing by encouraging and facilitating engagement between schools and manufacturers, and by ensuring high-quality careers advice that understands manufacturing.

The manifesto has been authored and signed by six leading parliamentary members of the All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group: Barry Sheerman MP, Chris White MP, Gordon Birtwistle MP, Caroline Dinenage MP, John Stevenson MP and Baroness Wall of New Barnet. The manifesto will be launched at an event in Parliament today.

Commenting on the manifesto, Jonathan Reynolds MP, APMG Vice-Chair and Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change said:

“It is a common misconception that the UK is no longer a manufacturing nation. The reality is that manufacturing is a major part of the UK economy, generating good jobs and valuable exports.

“This Manifesto sets out how UK manufacturing can grow even stronger, something which I hope will become an issue of political consensus in the UK, so that industry can plan for the long-term and we can all secure the benefits of this vital sector.”

Chris White MP, Co-Chair of the APMG, also commented:

“This Manifesto highlights the crucial issues that need to be addressed in the coming years if the UK is to sustain its increasingly robust manufacturing sector, which is an essential part of any well-balanced economy.

“The All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group brings together Parliamentarians from all parties, and from both Houses, to work together in order to improve policy for the long-term.

“We will continue to work with industry in this regard, to campaign on these issues, ensure that any future government is made fully aware going forward of the importance to the nation of a strong manufacturing sector, and encourage it to take the necessary steps to secure the UK’s place as a global leader in manufacturing markets.”

The manifesto builds upon the APMG’s 2013 research inquiry and report Making Good: A Study of Culture and Competitiveness in UK Manufacturing, which warned that UK manufacturing is being prevented from becoming “wholly competitive” by a national industrial culture that discourages companies from investing in vital long-term business drivers such as skills development and technological innovation.

The All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group (APMG) brings parliamentarians and manufacturing industry organisations together to ensure as broad, and as deep an understanding of the challenges and requirements of the sector as possible.

The manifesto represents the cumulative input over months and years from diverse stakeholders in the manufacturing community, and promotes one over-arching theme throughout.