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IMechE tells government how to boost UK manufacturing

23 July 2012

The IMechE is calling on government to focus on developing a national industrial strategy and to help to provide companies with more capital investment to boost UK manufacturing.

The recommendations are part of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' (IMechE's) new ‘UK Manufacturing in 2012’ policy statement which is released to coincide with the announcement of the 13 companies shortlisted for this year’s Manufacturing Excellence Awards.

IMechE head of manufacturing, Philippa Oldham said: “Although manufacturing makes up just 12% of the UK economy, the companies shortlisted today, which range from businesses making potato boxes to defence systems, demonstrate the variety of talent and skill there is in the sector. 

“Just a 10% rise in UK manufacturing exports and corresponding drop in imports could bring an extra £45 billion into the UK economy – spearheading the country’s economic recovery.

“But in order to do this, Government needs to show leadership. Government must prioritise the development of a cross-party industrial strategy and improve access to funds in order to give industry direction and confidence to invest in UK manufacturing.”

The policy statement makes four key recommendations:
- That Government sets out a clear national industrial strategy to provide industry and academia with a framework to deliver growth in the manufacturing sector. This industrial strategy needs to be developed with a cross-party consensus to ensure UK industry has long-term political commitment.
- That Government and the financial sector work together to deliver greater capital investment in new production plants and machinery along with training. An industrial bank is one option that can assist manufacturers with access to funds for investment, providing options such as asset management loans.
- Industry, academia and Government need to support and publicise the work of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills to increase the number of people and the skill levels required to meet the future requirements of manufacturing. Only then can we develop programmes to deliver an expanded manufacturing sector and increase its contribution to the economy.
- That the new High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre should expand its role across all manufacturing sectors rather than be restricted to its own research programmes.

The 13 companies shortlisted for this year’s Manufacturing Excellence programme are: 
- KAB Seating: a Northampton-based vehicle seat manufacturer;
- Draeger Safety UK: a Northumberland- based manufacturer of life-saving safety equipment for a range of industries; 
- ScotAsh: A manufacturer of sustainable construction products using by-products from power stations based in Fife;
- SKF: Luton-based rolling bearings and seals manufacturer; 
- H K Timbers: Gainsborough-based potato and vegetable box manufacturer; 
- G & H Precision Engineering: Southampton-based precision engineering firm;
- FFEI Ltd: Hertfordshire manufacturer of inkjet products, printing software and 3D printing simulation;
- Brother Industries: Toner cartridge and printer manufacturer based in Wrexham; 
- Altro Limited: Safety and commercial flooring manufacturer based in Letchworth; 
- Hymid Multi-Shot Limited: Torquay-based company which provides injection moulding solutions; 
- Accutronics Limited: Battery manufacturer based in Newcastle-under-Lyme specialising in developing technologies for ‘smart batteries’;
- Building Adhesives Limited: Stoke-on-Trent manufacturer of which tiling applications; and 
- MBDA: Lostock-based missile and defence systems manufacturer.

Manufacturing Excellence 2012 is run in partnership with The ERA Foundation, Lombard and WMG; sponsored by Arup and supported by the CBI.

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