The manufacturing industry is the engine of the UK economy: it drives innovation, job creation, and decarbonisation. Contrary to popular opinion, the sector punches well above its weight on productivity, wages and exports. And despite facing various challenges in recent years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, global chip shortage, and war in Ukraine, the UK manufacturing sector has shown remarkable progress. It has continued to grow and has accelerated up the world rankings this year and is now the 8th largest manufacturing economy in the world.
This sector has, above all, shown resilience and adaptability. It is well-positioned to grow even more in the coming years with ambitions to boost the manufacturing sector's proportion of increasing UK GDP from its current 10% to 15% by the end of the next decade. This growth could significantly boost £142bn to the UK economy whilst driving a substantial uplift in long-term domestic and foreign investment.
The UK manufacturing industry is the cornerstone of local economies and communities, providing over 2.6 million high-quality jobs in rural and regional areas. They play a vital role in skills development by training and upskilling workers and apprentices and are often the backbone of local towns, and provide a sense of community and identity. And we know that manufacturing businesses create new opportunities and attract new investments to their local area. Their presence is truly invaluable.
Manufacturers have set their sights on some impressive goals for the future. They intend to achieve net zero before 2050 by pushing forward with energy efficiency and industrial innovation. They aim to establish a sustainable workforce to prepare for the future, boost productivity by speeding up digitalisation, and climb the ranks to become the 7th largest manufacturing economy in the world, up from their current position as the 8th.
What the sector needs now is a commitment from the next government that they will help manufacturers' ambitions become a reality. Manufacturers cannot achieve this on their own.
Make UK's manifesto details the areas of support manufacturers need and offers real solutions – and we stand ready to work with Government to implement.