24 December 2012

Industry group calls for new national manufacturing body

A new report, generated by SME manufacturing and engineering businesses, is calling on the government to beef up its commitment to manufacturing in Britain.

The report, Future Makers: Supporting UK SME Manufacturers, makes a strong appeal for government to do more to advance the industry and has been delivered to business secretary Vince Cable.

Emanating from an SME manufacturing roundtable hosted by MHA, a group of independent accountants and advisors, the report calls for a more comprehensive national manufacturing strategy which specifically deals with the issues facing SMEs.

The roundtable brought together managing and finance directors from 14 SME manufacturing and engineering businesses, and focused on formulating practical and achievable recommendations aimed at helping UK SMEs in this sector to compete more effectively in the global economy.

Chris Coopey (pictured), head of manufacturing at MHA, said there was a strong need for more support and guidance from government to ensure growth for the sector.

He continued: "The current challenges for UK manufacturing are profound – from the long-term threats posed by emerging markets to the current economic downturn. The manufacturing and engineering sector as a whole requires brand development and long-term investment to ensure it is seen as an attractive career option and as an important part of the UK's economic and social future."

On the proposed new Business Bank announced in September, Coopey was concerned that the UK economy and the sector SMEs could not afford to wait the 18 months before it becomes effective. And while it was to be applauded, the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative had so far assisted just 11 supply chain projects.

The report recommends that the government improves communication and awareness of the help available for the sector and creates a national manufacturing body.

It says that critical to the success of the recommendation is the formulation of a national manufacturing body that consolidates the roles of MAS, UKTI and other government entities. This would include expert advice on a range of key subjects from available funding to manufacturing techniques and successful export strategies, "a true one stop shop with quality assured delivery across the UK", Coopey added.

Ken Hurst

Supporting Information

Macintyre Hudson

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