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29 May 2012
Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) Corrugated Sector is asking the government to take action to reduce the amount of red tape that is strangling the UK Manufacturing Industry if it is serious about rebalancing the nation's economy.
CPI's director general, David Workman, told a unique one-day summit held in Yorkshire on May 25 that measures to cut bureaucracy and streamline employment laws should be among the Government's priorities as it seeks to boost manufacturing and create growth in the UK.
Mr Workman was speaking at a regional economic event at Leeds Metropolitan University organised by Dods, the leading political information, public affairs and policy communication specialist in the UK, in partnership with the All Party Yorkshire & Northern Lincolnshire Group, Local Government Yorkshire & Humber and Welcome to Yorkshire.
Regional industry figures, MPs and local government officials were in the invited audience to hear Mr Workman say that the combined effects of Government legislation, such as the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, Carbon Price Floor and Agency and Working Time directives, are having a detrimental effect on Energy Intensive Industries like papermaking which is the principal supplier to the Corrugated Packaging Sector.
He said: “UK manufacturing needs a bonfire of quangos and red tape rather than more legislation, that is not only adding bureaucracy, but sizeable costs to industries like Corrugated. The Agency Workers and Working Time directives will cost manufacturing over £5 billion so we're talking about legislation that could be counterproductive in terms of making UK manufacturing more efficient.”
Easier access to finance is another key area for manufacturers looking to invest, and while Mr Workman acknowledges the steps the government is taking on this issue, he believes that more pressure needs to be put on the banks so that they release the cash needed to help SMEs grow.
He commented: “Access to finance is a critical aspect for the industry so I will be looking to the government to followthrough some of the suggestions it has made to guarantee loans. There has been significant investment in the bigger UK corrugated plants recently, but my concern is about the smaller players who can't raise the finance. They are the organisations that need help.”
Mr Workman also wants to see a Minister responsible for energy-intensive manufacturing. Currently there is no UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Minister or senior civil servant that even has the word 'manufacturing' in their title. Summing up, Mr Workman said: “The Corrugated Packaging Industry would welcome a strategy for manufacturing which puts the maintenance and growth of energy intensive production at its heart. This means creating a level playing field for these sectors so that they can compete in the global markets in which they operate”.