Action to tackle the lack of funding for industry, the skills gap and the maze of red tape that continues to bedevil business is vital if manufacturing is to play a leading role in Britain’s economic recovery.
That was the verdict of Sheffield industrialist Pam Liversidge, delivering the traditional Senior Warden’s ‘State of the Industry’ speech at the Cutlers’ Feast.
“As a lifelong manufacturer, I am delighted that at long last manufacturing’s valuable contribution to our economy is being recognised,” said the Senior Warden, whose husband, Doug, is a Past Master Cutler and who is, herself, in line to become the first female Master in the Company’s 387 year history.
“Even for the Government, the penny has finally dropped that it is manufacturers who create wealth and real jobs for our communities. Manufacturers also play a major role in reversing our balance of payments deficit through their exports.
“As manufacturers and engineers, we expect to innovate, invest and exploit our markets. But we expect Government to assist us by creating an internationally competitive business environment.”
The Coalition had made a positive start, but still had a long way to go to reduce the burden of bureaucracy on business. There was also a need to free up the flow of credit and capital for business and to give people the right level and type of skills that manufacturing needed.
Britain had to address the idea that vocational learning was inferior to academic learning, said the Senior Warden, adding: “We still need to convince our young people, especially the brightest and the best, that engineering and technology provide attractive and sustainable careers.”