Despite Britain’s ninth place in the world’s manufacturing rankings, its share of GDP has decreased drastically over recent decades. With fewer locally produced goods, a growing trade deficit and reliance on imported products. The Centre for Social Justice argues that reversing this trend could be key to unlocking economic growth potential within the UK economy.
Manufacturing plays a key role in the economy of many parts of Britain, from the North East to The Midlands. However, its decline has been faster than most other developed countries and this has led to increasingly stark regional divides. Despite these issues manufacturing still provides higher salaries than equivalent sectors with 12% more wage potential – but it seems that few Britons are seeing these opportunities as 62 per cent report reduced local industry around them.
British manufacturing is in need of a reboot. The CSJ brought together Make UK, Midlands Engine and East Midlands Chamber and over 60 regional manufacturers to discuss the challenges facing them – from high-cost bases to unfair competition and soaring energy costs.
The resulting report acts as a guide for moving British industry back into growth and outlines how we could go about rebooting the government’s abandoned Industrial Strategy into a new ‘Industrial Strategy 2.0’ with a focus on creating productivity premiums and higher-paid jobs.
Andrew Everett, CEO and Executive Secretary of the ERA Foundation said that “the ERA Foundation is pleased to have supported this report. We are concerned that manufacturing has declined as a proportion of gross domestic product from 25 per cent in the 1970s to 9 per cent today and we wish to see the revival of manufacturing to be a priority for the government with an aim for manufacturing to become 15 per cent of GDP.”
“We also note the evidence that also suggests the relative decline of manufacturing has been a key contributing factor to growing regional inequality and by reviving manufacturing we can also reduce the regional disparities.”
You can download the report and read the recommendations for the CSJs “Industrial Strategy 2.0” at centreforsocialjustice.org.uk.