Vision for future of manufacturing

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The public gets it - but will politicians?

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, says 85 per cent of voters in a YouGov poll want the next Government to promote manufacturing, believing it will deliver more jobs, economic growth and rebalance the economy.

Now it hopes the political class will get the message and has published its new manifesto - An Agenda to Government to 2020.

It challenges all three parties to set out a clear vision for the UK’s economy over the next Parliament to provide certainty for business and help boost investment.

It echoes calls by the Cutlers’ Company in Sheffield for all parties to agree a strategy for manufacturing - but one that goes beyond the life of a Parliament.

EEF says the current Government has made some progress with a generally supportive tax environment and efforts to boost innovation and apprenticeships.

The focus on growing trade through agencies such as UKTI, which has received extra funding, should also bear fruit by the end of the decade.

It is urging the next Government to avoid ‘change for the sake of change’ and to let policies which have the backing of business to achieve their potential.

Darrell Matthews, North West EEF director, says: “After such a traumatic period following the financial crash of 2008 we are now at a crucial stage for our economy. Let us not pretend, however, that we are seeing the better-balanced growth we need for the long-term – it still remains a long way off.

“All parties must now set out a clear vision for the UK economy, including how they will support rebalancing and strengthening the role of industry and manufacturing.”

The manifesto calls for improved skills and infastructure, funding for innovation, energy security and remaining in the EU.