UK government unveils Advanced Manufacturing Plan to boost British industry

Posted on 26 Nov 2023 by James Devonshire

The UK government has unveiled its Advanced Manufacturing Plan, a 47-page document setting out the actions being taken to position the country as the go-to place to start and grow a manufacturing business.

Released today by the Department for Business and Trade, the Advanced Manufacturing Plan follows the recent news that the Chancellor has committed £4.5bn to the manufacturing industry.

In her foreword for the plan, Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, lauds the United Kingdom’s proud history of manufacturing, citing the invention of The Steam Engine; Oxford University’s research that made the lithium-ion battery possible; and the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine; developed in the UK.

However, Badenoch also warns of the risks associated with the transition to cleaner technology, highlighting that the UK will not be drawn into a “distortive subsidy battle” with other nations. Instead, focus will be placed on capital investment from the private sector, which sustains jobs and growth for the UK.

Badenoch finishes by saying: “The Advanced Manufacturing Plan invests in the future of manufacturing, opens markets, and removes obstacles for business.”

According to the government, hundreds of thousands of UK jobs will be created in the battery sector alone as a result of the new Battery Strategy, which includes £50m of newly allocated government funding to deliver a globally competitive battery supply chain by 2030. Other notable commitments include over £2bn earmarked for the automotive industry, including batteries, and £975m for aerospace.

The government says it will meet its ambitions of positioning the UK as a leading manufacturing nation by:

  • Investing in the future of manufacturing by extending and building on our successful programmes to 2030, and forging partnerships with businesses to support market-led investment in innovation and research and development (R&D)
  • Cooperating internationally and increasing UK capability to build supply chain resilience, boost economic security and ensure our sectors have access to the goods that drive prosperity
  • Reducing costs and removing barriers to boost competitiveness and ensure the UK retains its attractiveness to international investors in the long term

Reacting to the release of the Advanced Manufacturing Plan, Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation said: “A battery strategy is very welcome and much needed. Having a joined-up battery plan in place will be critical for the UK economy to benefit fully from new technological opportunities going forward, and we must ensure that manufacturing involves the entire supply chain, right from design to manufacturing and recycling, closely connecting car and battery industries.

“Recycling will also be very important to recover those critical materials that are essential for the low-carbon economy, and this joined up Advanced Manufacturing Plan will help deliver better coordination across the whole of the clean energy sectors.

“Make UK and industry will continue to work with the government on the practicalities of this plan, including how to incorporate manufacturing supply chains. These supply chains have a key role in supplying components and services for clean energy in the future low-carbon economy and we must ensure that the full potential is delivered to enable our companies to compete on the global stage.”

Karen Betts, Chief Executive, The Food and Drink Federation, said: “The advanced manufacturing plan will provide critical support to the UK’s largest manufacturing sector in helping to unlock innovative investments in food and drink businesses. The £4.5bn of funding will help to derisk and incentivise investments focused on the transition to net zero and strengthening food security while the expansion of Made Smarter will particularly help SMEs. Making full expensing permanent will support businesses across the sector, boosting productivity and growth.”

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Decarbonising road transport is essential if net zero is to be achieved, and that transition must be ‘built in Britain’. The government’s Advanced Manufacturing Plan sets out measures to support the UK automotive supply chain as it undergoes the most significant transition in its history.

“The plan, together with a new battery strategy to support the development and production of this critical technology, is essential if the UK is to compete in the face of fierce global competition. These initiatives can only help to attract the investment necessary to seize the growth opportunities a Net Zero economy offers.”

Kevin Craven, CEO of ADS, said: “ADS and our members welcome today’s Advanced Manufacturing Plan publication, reaffirming long-term backing for our world-leading advanced manufacturing sectors, including UK aerospace. This is a very timely intervention given the growing pace of aerospace recovery, huge aircraft order backlog and industries’ continued commitment to net zero.

“Our aerospace sector provides high-skilled jobs throughout the country, and set against a backdrop of increasing global competition, the continued commitment towards aerospace R&D is significant. These measures will provide a boost to continued investment in innovation and advanced manufacturing in the UK, in turn securing the future advantage of our industry.”

Download the full Advanced Manufacturing plan here.

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