The Government must implement a “broad and proactive” industrial policy, according to MPs from all three major parties.
A new strategy paper from the Associate Parliamentary Manufacturing Group recommends a new, formal Industrial Policy Statement with an annual government statement to Parliament.
It would lay out government plans for supporting manufacturing over the forthcoming ten-year period, complete with clear targets, objectives and measures of success.
The group also wants a new Minister for Manufacturing to act as a voice for UK manufacturing and coordinate 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.”
The MPs said the current stalling of manufacturing growth in the UK 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 both the over-arching vision and energy needed to ensure individual strategies’ success.
“There is clear consensus across all parties that if the UK is to rebalance its economy away from an overreliance on domestic consumption and debt, towards more sustainable growth based on exports, then we must take a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to industrial policy,” Mr White said.
“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.”