Manufacturer’s ‘let down by coalition’

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Government policies aren’t helping manufacturers, despite coalition claims that it wants the industry to lead the recovery from recession.

Fewer than one in seven manufacturers think the Government is performing well and half think the Government is performing badly when it comes to manufacturing policy, according to a survey of 1,000 manufacturers, commissioned by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

In a separate IMechE poll of the general public, more than seven out of ten said the Government was more committed to the financial sector than to manufacturing.

Philippa Oldham, head of manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The UK’s manufacturing sector has the potential to spearhead economic recovery and lead the country towards growth. Yet in the past 12 months what was a steady rise in manufacturing growth has turned into a slow crawl.

“Rebalancing the economy towards manufacturing is not an easy task.

“However these polls make it clear that the Government’s policies to make it happen do not have the support of UK manufacturers or the public.

“The warm words about UK manufacturing we have been hearing over the past two years are starting to wear thin.

“It’s time for the Government to engage with industry now to create a long-term industrial strategy that can put UK manufacturing, once the envy of the world, back on top.”

The polls showed strong support from industry and the general public for Government contracts to be placed with British firms.

More than 75 per cent of manufacturers and 72 per cent of the public said the Government should favour UK-based companies, even if that was the more expensive option.

“The results of these polls show that there is strong public support for Government to favour UK-based firms,” said Philippa Oldham.

“The Government is the UK’s largest consumer, and has the ability to decide which companies are awarded many of the UK’s largest manufacturing projects.

“The impact on UK jobs and the local economy must be made a key part of the criteria in deciding which firms are awarded Government contracts.”