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Fresh concerns over manufacturing industry

CBI urges government to support manufacturing industry

The CBI has urged the government to take more action to support the manufacturing industry. Carolyn Fairburn, Director-General of the CBI made a speech on Thursday, May 5, in which she called on the government to back an industrial strategy for the future.

As part of the strategy, Ms Fairburn stated that each part of the manufacturing industry should have a strategic plan. The Director-General said:

“Every manufacturing sector should have a plan for its future and many already do - we would suggest that each plan addresses these three questions.

“First, is the sector strategic for the UK?  Second, is the sector currently globally competitive, and if not why not? Does the UK have a competitive advantage?

“Third, what actions could government and business take to make it more competitive?”

Key factors holding back manufacturing

During the speech, Ms Fairburn detailed how three key factors: skills, energy and research and development were holding back the manufacturing industry.

The director-general called for more action to be taken to encourage young people to join the industry by highlighting what manufacturing looks like in the 21st century, rather than the old fashioned image some might have of it.

Energy Costs and Research and Development

While measures have been put in place to reduce energy costs of businesses, Ms. Fairburn stated they needed to be more of effort to find cost effective sources of energy to fuel businesses, which will help make them more economical to run, and she also urged the government to commit more funding to research and development in the manufacturing industry.

Concerns over Manufacturing

Ms. Fairburn’s speech comes at a time when they are a number of concern over the future of the manufacturing industry in the UK. The steel industry faces an uncertain future as workers at Tata wait to find if a buyer for the plant will be found, and the PFI figures are the worse for three years.

The uncertainty surrounding June’s Brexit vote is also fuelling the uncertainty that surrounds certain sectors of the UK’s manufacturing industry.

Markit Performance Marketing Index

The report by Markit highlighted concerns over the UK manufacturing industry and the effect this might have on the wider economy. Currently, there is a decline in domestic demand and in export orders. Moreover, there have been job losses in the sector in four consecutive months, according to the latest figures.

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