The themes to be addressed by Business Secretary Vince Cable and industrial leader Juergen Maier at a key debate this evening have been announced.
Mr Maier, managing director of Siemens Industry UK, will challenge the business secretary on government strategy for “long term industrial revival” particularly focusing on the role of manufacturing innovation and ways in which government can work with manufacturers across the UK supply chain.
Mr Maier’s debate with Dr Cable follows on the release of key research from Siemens at the end of last week.
The report Siemens Industry UK Impulse revealed that divided opinion within the manufacturing community about the right routes to growth may be holding the industry back. The industrial giant suggests that a unified strategy is needed to guide a common purpose in industry.
While the UK Impulse report showed surprising reluctance on the part of many UK manufacturers to commit to export driven growth, the majority did agree that manufacturing innovation would be key to future international competitiveness.
However, respondents placed Britain behind high growth manufacturing powerhouse, China, in terms of its capacity for innovation and 51% cited a lack of advanced industrial automation as a factor here.
Mr Maier called for a clear approach to R&D, investment and skills to be set out by government and it is expected that Cable will address these issues in a key note speech and debate in Manchester tonight.
In a statement ahead of the event Cable said that he recognised manufacturing technologies alongside R&D and skills as being key to long term growth.
“Working with business, we are taking steps to strengthen the UK’s manufacturing capability, ensuring a better business environment that will address barriers to growth, encourage innovation, exports and inward investment as well as build UK supply chains,” he stated.
A source from Siemens told TM that some interesting policy announcements on how just what these “steps to strengthen the UK’s manufacturing capability” are, should be expected this evening.
This evening’s debate is being held in aid of the government-led initiative Make it in Great Britain and also runs alongside Siemens’ Answers for Industry Conference – a two-day conference being held at the Manchester Central Convention Complex. The event provides a forum for a discussion and showcasing of technologies related to efficient manufacturing, green buildings, and renewable energy.
The VIP Make it in Great Britain Reception will address leading industrial figure and other speakers will include Make it in Great Britain champions Will Butler-Adams of Brompton Bicycles and Emma Bridgewater of Emma Bridgewater Ltd.
Debate will be chaired by engineer and former Tomorrow’s World presenter, Kater Bellingham.