12 Jul 2024

First 100 days of new UK Government must see five key commitments

UK growth forecast

Britain’s manufacturers are calling on the next UK Government to match their ambition for growth with a bold economic vision that puts the importance of the economy across every Ministerial portfolio.

Publishing its manifesto Make UK believes that the centrepiece of this vision must be a bold, long-term industrial strategy announced within the first hundred days, along with four other specific policy measures. In particular, this strategy must embrace a skills revolution throughout the education and training system to provide future talent, as well as the upskilling and re-training of the current workforce.

According to Make UK, such a vision is essential given the huge changes in the policy landscape, the need to shock the UK economy out of its anaemic holding pattern and, take advantage of the opportunities provided by rapidly accelerating technologies, investment in infrastructure and the move to a greener economy.

A policy framework for the economy beyond 2030 is also essential to counter the march of the US and China in green technologies in particular, as well as the need to make the UK as attractive a destination as possible for investment given the rate at which other countries are gearing up.

The five specific measures Make UK is calling for in the first hundred days of the next Government are:

  1. Announce a long-term modern Industrial Strategy to underpin all economic policymaking which has cross Government commitment. This should be backed by the re-introduction of an Industry Strategy Council and a new Cabinet Office backed Committee to ensure the implementation of the Strategy across Government.
  2. Align the UKCBAM (Carbon Border adjustment Mechanism) with the EU CBAM in terms of timescale and design to provide a level playing field with the EU.
  3. Commence a root-and-branch review of the Apprenticeship Levy as a funding mechanism, as well as the wider apprenticeship system.
  4. Re-establish an updated, modern Manufacturing Advisory Service.
  5. Establish a mechanism for ongoing and active consultation with industry to decide where it is appropriate to maintain alignment with EU regulatory changes or, where opportunities for divergence might apply.

Commenting, Make UK CEO, Stephen Phipson, said: “The policy landscape in which manufacturers operate has changed significantly in recent years and more changes are yet to come, from the transition to net zero to rapidly accelerating and game-changing technological change.  To keep up with these changes and, take advantage of the many opportunities ahead, not to mention the threats from other countries we need a vision from the next Government which recognises the scale of these challenges.

“This vision must include a long-term, robust, modern industrial strategy that will withstand political chop and change and goes beyond 2030. Any plan should go beyond parliamentary cycles, be cross Government, and be driven by industry, for industry.”

According to Make UK, the overall economic vision should be driven by ten key themes which are included in the manifesto. These are:

  1. A long-term and robust industrial strategy
  2. Maximising the opportunities of a net zero economy
  3. Grow and develop future manufacturing talent
  4. Retrain and upskill the current workforce
  5. Unlock innovation, support commercialisation and accelerate digital adoption and automation
  6. Create the right conditions for business to invest
  7. Boost manufacturing exports across the globe (anything about EU barriers?)
  8. Invest in physical and digital infrastructure
  9. Build the Future Factory with AI
  10. Make supply chains more resilient

Company info: Make UK