In a report – ‘Manufacturing Ambitions: an industrial strategy for a stronger economy’ – with bank NatWest, EEF said that complacency was ‘not an option’ and it wanted a coherent and consistent policy to support manufacturing businesses across the pre- and post-Brexit divide.
The study of 135 senior decision makers across the manufacturing sector showed that three quarters (76%) were going for growth, while seven in 10 (71%) had a three- to five- year business plan in place.
Almost two-thirds of firms (63%) were focused on driving up productivity, while margins (71%) and sales (64%) were also key targets in manufacturers’ growth plans, the report revealed.
It welcomed the fact that a UK-wide industrial strategy was back on the government’s table but said it must clearly set out goals for growth to deliver a more skilled workforce; more resilient infrastructure; a lower cost of doing business and better support for growing businesses.
The manufacturing industry calls were backed up by a new poll showing nine in 10 UK adults (90%) agreed that the UK needed a comprehensive, long-term industrial strategy and 86% wanted the government to promote a stronger manufacturing base in Britain.
Get it right
Terry Scuoler, ceo of EEF, said: “We need to get this right and we need to get this in place now so that manufacturers’ growth ambitions are supported across the pre- and post-Brexit divide.
“It is not enough to talk about an industrial strategy – it is time for the government to draw a line under the stop-go efforts of the past and to demonstrate its commitment to industry by putting some much-needed flesh on the bones.
“Manufacturers are not just talking about future growth – they have firm plans in place to make it happen. Their ambition and drive will help get the sector and our economy on the road to stronger, better-balanced growth, but this must be matched by government. If we are to stay the distance and realise the full benefits for the UK then complacency is not an option.”
EEF government complacency report – at a glance
- 76% of manufacturers actively looking for growth
- 71% have a three to five year plan as a fall back
- 63% focused on driving up margins