UK needs an industrial strategy – Make UK

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Make UK, which represents 20,000 manufacturers here in the UK, has called on the government to relaunch an industrial strategy and stop “flip flopping” on initiatives.

According to the industry body, the government’s lack of a long-term plan for industry could see UK businesses falling behind on the global stage, and unfavourably compared the UK’s approach to the Biden Administration’s £300bn Inflation Reduction Act.

Make UK accused successive Conservative governments of “flip flopping from one initiative to another,” and has called for the creation of a royal commission to develop a long-term, modern industrial strategy to support business in the UK.

The UK is the only leading nation in the world without a comprehensive, long-term industrial plan at a time when economies around the world are offering multiple incentives to attract investment and business. The lack of a clear industrial strategy is seen as causing significant harm. For example, Make UK, highlights the failure of the UK car industry to secure investment in a large-scale battery factory for electric cars.

From Germany, to China, and the US, long-term national manufacturing plans are in place underlying the importance of their respective industrial bases and the UK’s failure to develop one of its own is seen as putting UK firms at a competitive disadvantage to businesses in other countries.

Consequently, the UK Britain risks falling behind in the global “arms race” of re-industrialisation without a coherent plan for manufacturing, according to economist Andy Haldane.

He pointed to China and acknowledged that while the West had been slow to respond it was now ‘waking up’ to the challenges posed by China’s leading position in terms of green technologies.

Haldane, commenting on the research undertaken by Make UK, said the UK was “not really in the race at any kind of scale” as other countries steal a march in developing the green, hi-tech industries of the future.