Heseltine Review must tackle barriers to growth, EEF says

Posted on 29 Oct 2012

This week's review by Lord Heseltine must bring about action to ensure that ambitious British companies invest and expand in the UK, according to manufacturers’ organisation EEF.

Making the call ahead of the review to be published this Wednesday, EEF pointed to new survey evidence showing that UK manufacturers are adopting a range of strategies to position themselves to be competitive in world markets.

Two-thirds (64%) are planning on launching a new product, over half (54%) expect to sell into a new export market and, 41% are developing new service offerings.

According to EEF, what these companies need from government is a clear statement of its economic priorities to provide confidence to carry out these activities in the UK and a relentless attack on the barriers to investing and expanding in the UK.

The organisation believes the review should galvanise government action on overcoming the hurdles facing those dynamic companies that have the potential to drive sustained growth through trade and investment. It must also ensure that every pound spent delivers a growth dividend for our economy.

This must include action at national level to get finance flowing, a systematic attack on the cost and regulatory burden on businesses and the promotion of export support services to manufacturers focused on new markets.

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, said: “Last week’s GDP numbers carried some positive news on the economy but, the outlook is still highly uncertain. This makes it ever more important that the government gets behind every company that is looking to grow its business.

“This week’s review by Lord Heseltine must therefore be the start of a concerted effort by government in the weeks leading up to the Autumn Statement to demonstrate to business that it is getting behind these companies by addressing the barriers they face and ensuring they have access to the right support, especially making inroads into markets overseas.”