Brexit reinforces need
for comprehensive industrial strategy
England's manufacturers have called on the next Government to commit to a
long term, ambitious industrial strategy as part of post Brexit plans for
growth in a manifesto that has just been published by Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF),
the manufacturers' organisation.
In the manifesto:-
'Making the Future, making Britain Great,' EEF is urging a new
Government to use the opportunity to fully commit to a comprehensive
industrial strategy, building on the momentum created by the surge in recent
manufacturing performance in recent data including GDP and PMI figures.
However, EEF's Interim
Region Director in the North West, Richard Halstead, warned that Brexit
risked swamping plans to boost economic growth, and failure to reach
agreement on a comprehensive trade deal with the EU could scupper
Setting out the
organisation's key aims for a new Government EEF calls for:-
► A comprehensive
industrial strategy to boost economic growth and social wellbeing across the
UK driven by the Office of the Prime Minister with all Government
departments accountable for delivery.
► An ambitious Brexit
deal that retains the benefits of the single market and enables seamless
trade between Britain and the EU with minimal cost to business.
► A new immigration
system giving employers the ability to manage work permits ensuring they
have access to the people and skills they need.
► A boost for
innovation, enhancing research and development incentives and making a solid
commitment to improve digital technology, including the expansion of fast
► A clear commitment
to deliver the 3rd runway at Heathrow and improve road and rail links.
► An extension of
devolution deals across England with a focus on improving transport links.
► A renewed commitment
to reduce regulatory cost on business including an enhanced role for the
Regulatory Policy Committee.
Commenting on the plan,
Richard Halstead said:- "Manufacturing industry must be at the heart of any
new Government's vision for a strong and successful economic plan for the
UK. Manufacturing firms across the North West represent the best of British
business and they need to feel certain that Government is backing them in
the face of the complex process of leaving the EU. Leaving the EU is an
opportunity for a new Government to ensure the foundations of a
comprehensive and ambitious industrial strategy are fully embedded. That
means putting the delivery of that strategy at the very centre of government
and making all departments are accountable. This is not a revolutionary
concept. Many successful economies have done this for decades and are
reaping the benefits. The UK must do the same. As we prepare to navigate
what will inevitably be choppy Brexit waters, a clear commitment to an
industrial strategy will give business confidence that the Government is
capable of looking long term at strengthening some of the fundamental levers
of our economy. From boosting innovation and improving infrastructure to
ensuring we have a clear education strategy for industry where schools and
colleges are preparing young people with the skills they need for the
future. A new Government also needs to think differently and strategically
about how it uses its significant spending power to help drive growth and
exports. It can nurture existing and new supply chains and support more even
economic growth through careful procurement planning. Whatever deal we
eventually achieve with the EU, it must lead to a realistic and supportive
trading relationship. Walking away without a deal would throw a significant
spanner into any effort to build a vibrant and productive economy. A robust
and growing industry will be the hallmark of a successful Brexit
EEF's manifesto sets out
a programme to boost investment and deliver a more skilled and productive
Measures recommended by
EEF include developing a close collaboration between Government and business
to strengthen different sectors, and a drive to develop good business
practices by giving shareholders a greater say on executive pay and
promoting employee engagement in decision making.