UK-wide strategy is needed to safeguard manufacturing says IPRC

Clive Hickman, CEO of MTC and chair of IPRC

The Industrial Policy Research Centre (IPRC) has called for the government to create a UK manufacturing strategy, following the levelling up white paper.

Dr Clive Hickman, the chair of IPRC says 1.5 million jobs were lost between 1997-2009 and that the UK is struggling to compete with innovation overseas. Therefore he says a strategy is vital to protect the 2.7 million workers in the industry and ensure the UK can be a competitive manufacturing leader. 

The IPRC says the government can safeguard the future of manufacturing by; 

  • Building stronger links between academia and industry through manufacturing clusters as catapult centres with universities and research organisations to drive inventions and boost exports.
  • Boost devolved powers across each region to create tailored regional strategies and bring local organisations and businesses together. 
  • Giving the sector specific funding for net-zero manufacturing and infrastructure to ensure that UK manufacturing is capable of achieving net-zero.
  • Bringing companies in the same industrial sector together into a manufacturing cluster, to promote a better understanding of what customers want, support emerging innovations, strengthen competitiveness, increase productivity and stimulate partnerships.
  • Encourage education in maths, digital and technical skills to address the shortage of STEM skills. The government can encourage this into the national curriculum.
  • Expand the UK’s sector deals to include nascent industries such as hydrogen. This would create opportunities to boost productivity, employment, innovation and skills as well as attracting investment.

Dr Hickman said: “We need a UK Manufacturing Strategy to ensure the sector is competitive and future proof. By taking these steps, we can reverse a decades-long reliance on imports and re-establish the UK as a global manufacturing superpower.”