Food and drink firms invited to join CBI’s Manufacturing Council

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

UK food manufacturers have been invited to join a new Manufacturing Council being set up by the CBI
UK food manufacturers have been invited to join a new Manufacturing Council being set up by the CBI

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UK food and drink manufacturers have been invited to form part of a new Manufacturing Council being set up by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

With growing opportunities for the UK’s manufacturers in industrial digitisation, innovation and emerging new markets, the new council is intended to provide support to these companies. The CBI’s Manufacturing Council will only be open to its members.

Manufacturing currently makes up around 10% of the UK economy and accounts for more than two-thirds of all UK spend on research and development, so it is vital that its voice is heard and helps shape the UK’s future economic performance, said the CBI.

The largest manufacturing sector

According to the latest figures from the Food and Drink Federation, the UK food and beverage sector accounts for 16% of total UK manufacturing gross value added (GVA), making it the largest manufacturing sector in terms of GVA contribution, ahead of transport (14%) and metals (12%).

The new chief executive-level council will bring together dozens of the UK’s top manufacturers – small, medium and large – from across the country and will be chaired by Tom Crotty, group director of chemicals firm Ineos.

The new council will aim to: shape the skills agenda to build a UK workforce fit to adapt to artificial intelligence and digitisation; build a new visionary industrial strategy that supports productivity; create pathways to the delivery of the UK’s target of 3% of gross domestic product invested in research and development by 2020; and deliver a Brexit that works for the UK’s manufacturing base.

‘Foundation of a robust economy’

“A strong and diverse UK manufacturing industry is the foundation of a robust economy,”​ said Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI deputy director-general. “And with the global economy changing at a dizzying pace, it has never been more important that its voice is heard loud and clear. Building on our strengths in innovation, science and emerging technologies, the prize is to make the UK one of the greatest success stories of the next wave of global industrialisation.

“Our surveys show that UK manufacturers are on the march, with production and orders growing strongly, but with the challenges posed by Brexit, everything possible must be done to ensure they can stay ahead of the game.

“It is a time to build the confidence to invest and export, creating new high quality jobs across the country.”

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