Manufacturing Commission: Building back a sustainable manufacturing sector

Recovery from the pandemic is set to be the manufacturing sector’s biggest challenge in a generation.

Ben Carpenter Merritt, Head of Industry, Technology & Innovation at Policy Connect, has written about the challenges the upcoming Manufacturing Commission inquiry is set to tackle for the

The inquiry will be chaired by Lord Bilimoria and is supported by the ERA Foundation alongside Enginuity and the High-Value Manufacturing Catapult.

The inquiry will be looking into what government action to support the Engineering sector can be taken, how it can be rebuilt post-COVID-19, and other key areas relating to sustainability, competitiveness, government support and future technologies. The inquiry will hold evidence sessions around the country, hearing directly from manufacturers about their experiences and what they need to drive the British economy out of recession.

Ben’s conclusion is, sadly, that “although government acted quickly this spring to support the industry with the Furlough scheme protecting thousands of jobs, many firms now see redundancies looming as the scheme reaches conclusion” and “manufacturing is unlikely to be V shaped (a rapid recovery from a rapid decline), as many economists had hoped“.

This is supported by recent data that highlighted that while 99% of manufacturers are still openly trading, more than 45% have seen a drop in orders, ranging between 26% and 50%.

The ERA believes that it is imperative that the government understands the pressures and the opportunities facing the whole sector as it looks to secure the future of British industry.

That is why we believe it is critical to support the next inquiry by the Manufacturing Commission as it looks into what action the government needs to take to support and rebuild the UK’s manufacturing sector.

If your organisation would like to get involved in the inquiry, or to request an invitation to submit evidence, please contact

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