Time to appoint a Minister for Manufacturing

Posted on 29 May 2024 by The Manufacturer

If you have a LinkedIn account and you work in manufacturing, then you’ll probably be familiar with Andrea Wilson’s weekly campaign posts calling for a Minister for Manufacturing.

Andrea Wilson is the Operations Director of Hone-All Precision, an SME engineering business based in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, and the voice of the Support UK Manufacturing initiative. As part of this, she began a Campaign for a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing because having worked in the sector for 30 years, Andrea has experienced first-hand the positives but also the negatives of the industry and the continuing lack of appropriate support from government.

The Support UK Manufacturing initiative and the Campaign for a Minister started during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hone-All Precision remained open throughout the lockdowns however, like most businesses the company was quieter than usual. Andrea explained: “There were a number of us on LinkedIn chatting about the issues we were facing and there was around 25 of us who were in support of getting the SME voice heard.

“We launched an initial petition to appoint a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing in 2020 but didn’t achieve the numbers we needed. The Campaign followers grew over the next 3 years but with more becoming involved, there was a clear message that the term “Minister” was blocking many from supporting us. As a result, we launched a second petition calling for an ‘experienced and passionate voice for Industry within Government’ with the aim of acquiring the 100,000 signatures required to have the issue debated in Parliament. Based on the support and conversations we’d had on LinkedIn, and the generous offer of promotion at Smart Manufacturing and Engineering Week, this felt achievable.”

However, with the announcement of the impeding General Election on 4 July, Parliament has to be dissolved and with that, all parliamentary business – including petitions – will stop.

This is bad timing for the sector, which received such a welcome boost at the turn of the year, with added funding being pledged via the Advanced Manufacturing Plan. Andrea commented: “The need for an experienced and passionate advocate for Engineering and Manufacturing within the halls of power has never been greater.

“We must not stop campaigning for what we need and deserve just because there is a ridiculous policy that all petitions, irrelevant of importance, or numbers of support, are cancelled when an election is called.

“We deserve to be recognised for our contribution to the UK economy. We deserve to be heard in future policy decisions – particularly SMEs who make up 99% of our industry but who are yet to be listened to in terms of the support we are offered, or what we need from our representatives in Government. It’s time for change and we need everyone to be part of the change!”

The Manufacturer certainly echoes these sentiments, and we are keen to be part of the aforementioned change. Therefore, as an interim measure while the politicians head for the hustings, we will be capturing petition signatories via www.themanufacturer.com. Anyone who has yet to sign the petition can still throw their weight behind the campaign by filling in the form here.

We will then contact all supporters when the new petition is launched and together, we will achieve the 100,000 signatures to ensure this is debated by our new Government with the aim of securing the prosperity and success of the industry, not just for the next political term, but for the next generation.

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