MPs call for government leadership on industrial growth

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MPs from all three major political parties have called on the government to develop a cross-departmental industrial policy in order to encourage long-term manufacturing growth and help rebalance the UK economy.

In a Strategy Paper published today, the Associate Parliamentary Manufacturing Group has outlined why and how the coalition must take a more active role in generating a firm plan for industrial growth.

The paper calls for the establishment of a formal Industrial Policy Statement, an annual government statement to parliament laying out plans for supporting manufacturing over the forthcoming 10-year period, complete with targets, objectives and measures of success.

According to a statement, the group argues that the current stalling of manufacturing growth in Britain can be attributed to successive governments’ tendency to favour a greater number of smaller, sectoral strategies for growth, rather than a broad and proactive industrial policy that would provide the over-arching vision and energy needed to ensure individual strategies’ success.

The group has called for an Industrial Policy Statement to coincide with the chancellor’s 2013 Budget statement, arguing such a plan would not only provide a coherent framework for growth but would bind together key players and help create the culture of confidence necessary to drive long-term manufacturing growth.

The group further calls for a dedicated minister for manufacturing within the government to act as a voice for UK manufacturing and co-ordinate and drive industrial policy across different government departments.

Chris White MP, co-chair of the APMG, said: ‘UK manufacturing growth is not a party-political issue; nor is it a challenge we can tackle in a fragmented, piecemeal manner.

‘Other economies have benefitted enormously from government leadership on industrial growth — so can the UK. We need a clear vision of what we want the UK manufacturing sector to look like in five, 10, 25 years and we need a cross-government plan for getting there.

‘There is clear consensus across all parties that if the UK is to rebalance its economy away from an over reliance on domestic consumption and debt, towards more sustainable growth based on exports, then we must take a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to industrial policy.

‘It is the only way we can foster the necessary climate of continuity, clarity and confidence in order to secure sustained growth across the economy.’