Ruth Mitchell

Business and Enterprise Minister sets out plans for growth in UK manufacturing

The Minister of State for Business and Enterprise has announced his plans for the manufacturing industry, which he hopes will reanimate “the spirit of industrial enterprise in this country”.

Speaking at the National Manufacturing Debate at Cranfield University, Mark Prisk pledged to encourage innovation and investment across a wide range of sectors, including advanced manufacturing, biotechnologies and low carbon technologies.

Industry generates £140 billion annually for the UK economy, which amounts to 11% of total GVA and 55% of all exports.

He said: “Our job as a Government is to enable manufacturers – wherever they are located – to maximise their competitive advantages, thereby stimulating economic recovery and reanimating the spirit of industrial enterprise

The theme of the debate was whether it was possible for manufacturing to contribute to long-term job creation and regional economic balance through investment, innovation and incentives.

Mr Prisk outlined his plans to enable British companies to reinvest more easily through tax system reforms. This should free up around £1 billion annually for reinvestment.

He also stressed the importance of spurring investment in SMEs, praising the banks for their progress with the Project Merlin scheme, as well as the support the Business Growth Fund, Enterprise Capital Fund and the Regional Growth Fund are set to provide.

Mr Prisk continued: “Taken together, these new sources of investment will allow manufacturers to establish themselves in these growth sectors and capitalise on the new opportunities.”

The importance of the Technology Innovation Centres were high on his agenda, and he expressed his hope that they would “be a launch pad for manufacturers to get their products out of the laboratory and into the market”.

Concluding his speech, Mr Prisk encouraged Industry and the government to come together to rebuild and redesign the UK’s manufacturing and engineering capability as a real driver for future growth.

“Over the last 12 months, we have built a firm foundation for engineering and manufacturing, and the Plan for Growth sets out a clear direction for facilitating investment, encouraging innovation, strengthening skills and offering incentives for growth,” he added.

“But I am well aware that we still have a long way to go. That’s why we are committed to working with engineers and manufacturers – charting a course for the next decade. So companies can plan and invest with confidence for the long term.”

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