Business has reacted positively to the Conservative election victory as it provides continuity and stability for the manufacturing industry.
However, there have been calls for more support for industry from the government and concerns raised over the referendum on the UK’s EU membership that the Tories have promised.
“A majority Conservative government is good news for UK manufacturing,” said Nick Brainsby, partner and director of investment company Pemberton Capital.
“People voted to keep their jobs and to keep the manufacturing revival going.
“Although there is a long way to go in order to complete this recovery, the current competitiveness of UK manufacturing owes a lot to the UK’s flexible and dynamic labour market and relatively low corporate tax rates. We can now be confident that this environment will continue.”
He added that one risk to the manufacturing revival was low productivity, and that the government should continue to invest in UK infrastructure and improve access to finance for spending on new plant and machinery by SMEs.
Institution of Civil Engineers director general Nick Baveystock said that the uncertainty that preceded a general election had lifted and the government should move swiftly to reassure industry on the post-election outlook.
“Continuity is the single most important thing for the infrastructure supply chain and investment community.
“We look forward to working together, building on the relationship established, and the progress made. We must start moving towards a longer-term vision for infrastructure – one which underpins a rebalanced, low-carbon economy and is shielded from political short-termism.”
Campaign for Science & Engineering (CaSE) acting director Naomi Weir said the outgoing coalition government had recognised the benefits the sector brought to the economy and society.
“It’s vital for Britain’s future that they continue putting science and engineering at the core of their long-term economic plan,” she added.
“The evidence is clear that strong investment and policies for science and engineering in turn support growth, productivity and jobs as well as equipping the UK to take a lead role in global efforts to tackle looming and unforeseen challenges in areas from health to security.”
Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) chief executive Dr Nelson Ogunshakin said it was vital that infrastructure investment continued.
“The industry needs the government to honour the electorate’s wish for political stability and policy continuity to attract investment in the much-needed social and economic infrastructure,” he said.
The result also confirmed the need to progress with the regional empowerment promised during the election, he added.
“Together, we stand stronger as a United Kingdom and industry is keen to work with the newly elected government to secure the UK’s position in the global economy of nations.”
Terry Scuoler, chief executive of manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said the government should provide continuity and stability in business policy.
“There is a real opportunity to properly rebalance the economy and ensure a strong focus across government on investing in and, building on, our industrial strength as a manufacturing nation,” he said.
The new business and industry secretary needed to be a big hitter able to tackle issues that would help Britain build on the recovery, he added.
These included reversing the trade deficit, tackling an energy policy that remained a mess, and redoubling efforts to deal with infrastructure by getting on with important projects, especially building a new airport hub, he added.
“The biggest threat to our long-term economic wellbeing, however, remains the prospect of leaving the EU,” he said. “The new administration must move quickly and campaign on the back of a strong and positive case for Britain’s continued membership.”