New research has revealed voters are calling for greater support for the British manufacturing industry and a rebalanced economy to be central to election campaigns.
The research was conducted on behalf of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, by YouGov in August this year and polled 2,070 British adults in the lead up to next year’s federal election which is scheduled for 7 May 2015, unless Parliament orders an earlier date.
Following the results, which showed considerable support for UK industry, EEF is urging Britain’s political leaders to provide a supportive industrial policy that will help rebalance the UK’s economy.
Over six in ten consumers (63%) want to see Britain enjoying a better-balanced economy, where growth is sustainable and the economy is growing across different sectors. They want to see Britain making more (59%), exporting more (64%) and competing more effectively with other countries (58%).
Consumers also want long-term plans for protecting and building upon the economic recovery to be centre stage during next year’s election campaign. Almost eight in ten (79%) said this was important – a sentiment echoed by industry leaders. At the same time, almost seven in ten (68%) say that if current economic and business policies are working well they should be left alone.
Over eight in ten (85%) want the next Government to promote a stronger UK manufacturing base, believing it will deliver more jobs (79%), economic growth (64%) and prosperity (56%). Six in ten (62%) think that a stronger manufacturing sector will give the country more economic security. It is the sector consumers most want to see grow (48% compared to the next closest sectors: services 15% and construction 15%).
But with so much emphasis on strength and security, there are clear concerns over the timing of the next election and what it could mean for Britain’s economic bounce back. Over seven in ten consumers (72%) say that the election comes at a critical point for the recovery, while 77% say that the upturn could be affected by the election’s policy outcomes.
“The message to parties and political leaders is loud and clear: a strong, rebalanced economy has to be the long-term end goal and at the heart of your election offering. Industry and voters are singing from the same hymn sheet,” said Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF.
“A stronger manufacturing base is a vital component – and while it is not a ‘cure all’ for every economic ill, British industry does have a fundamental role to play in building a better-balanced and more robust economy. Government can and should focus policies on delivering this aim.”