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New Make UK research finds regional mayors should be empowered and given responsibility for levelling up funds to rebalance UK economy. 

British manufacturing is a versatile sector, accounting for £191 billion of Britain’s output, paying an average of 13% more in start-up wages than the national norm. The majority of the 2.7 million people already employed in the sector are in those areas Government wants to level up. Our new work reveals a significant number of manufacturers (30%) are not yet convinced levelling up has delivered any tangible benefit to their business.

The research revealed that 37% of manufacturers are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the Government’s current levelling up agenda, down from 52% two years ago indicating some positive movement. A quarter believe that allowing the available levelling up cash to be distributed locally by regional mayors would mean it could be used better to target issues and deliver growth and prosperity where it is needed.

Ben Fletcher, COO of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation said:

“Manufacturing has a proven track record of bringing huge amounts of inward investment, prosperity and well-paid jobs across the whole of the UK. Key to delivering this is for Government to give us a much-needed National Manufacturing Plan to concentrate growth in those areas which need investment the most.

Adam Hawksbee, Deputy Director and Head of Levelling Up at Onward said:

“Manufacturing matters. In almost every developed economy, manufacturing productivity growth has outpaced other sectors over the last two decades. . In the UK, where our economic story since the 1980s has too often revolved around services, productivity in manufacturing has had almost double the quarterly growth rate of the economy as a whole. Ultimately, this productivity growth feeds through into higher wages and living standards.

George Dibb, Head of the IPPR Centre for Economic Justice added:

“The manufacturing sector has a great potential to create jobs outside London and the South East, as well as supporting our transition to net zero, if government strategies can speak to the priorities of businesses and harness their innovation.

Download the report below and stay up to date with our work: Manufacturing Mondays