The UK needs to relaunch an industrial strategy and stop “flip flopping” on initiatives if it is to avoid falling behind on the global stage, manufacturing bosses have warned.

The call to action, from Make UK, which represents 20,000 manufacturers across the country, said that British businesses risked losing out to international competitors because of the government’s lack of a long-term plan for industry.

The report said that the government has overseen “flip flopping from one initiative to another,” and called for the creation of a royal commission to develop a long-term, modern industrial strategy to support companies across the UK.

Industrial strategy

Former Prime Minister Theresa May launched the UK’s industrial strategy in 2017. The initiative focussed on increasing jobs and investment outside London. However, the strategy was scrapped under Boris Johnson, along with a powerful council of business leaders and advisers tasked with monitoring investment in Britain’s hard-pressed regions.

Laimonas Noreika, co-founder and CEO of fintech platform HeavyFinance, said: “Manufacturing plays a vital role in job creation, and it is critical to have a detailed industrial strategy in place to spread investment and enable businesses to expand. With businesses feeling more confident, despite high interest rates and surging inflation, having a clear blueprint for empowering the manufacturing sector will be key for driving economic growth.

Noreika continued: “Many countries around the world are already developing incentives to promote investment in low-carbon, sustainable firms, and it’s crucial that the UK doesn’t fall behind in this area.”

Neh Thaker, co-founder of HedgeFlows, said: “Having a clear industrial strategy in place to support the manufacturing industry is essential for enabling businesses to hire, grow and expand internationally. With a dedicated plan to attract investors, the UK will be well positioned as a centre of excellence for fast-growing, high impact companies.

“Far too many ambitious businesses still lack the financial support they need to enter their next stage of development. Having a refreshed plan and a clear vision will further embolden businesses to take the next step forward,” concluded Thaker.
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