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UK Manufacturers say Government is failing them

Survey reveals UK manufacturers less confident now than before the coalition came to power


Vitsoe Workshop Photo: Manufacture & Industry

The results of a survey of 1000 manufacturers carried out by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers last month showed that the Government could be doing more to support them.
Only 17% of UK manufacturers surveyed said that they felt the Government was performing well, whilst 35% of respondents said that they were now less confident about the future of the sector than they were before the general election. 85% of UK manufacturers felt that the coalition was more committed to the financial sector than to their industry. One of their greatest concerns was that the Government was not doing enough to encourage young people to take up a career in engineering or manufacturing.

And it isn’t just industry insiders that feel let down by the Government’s support of the manufacturing sector – according to a similar survey of 2000 members of the public, only 19% believe that the coalition’s policies are helping UK manufacturing. 55%  also felt the same way about the lack of careers advice to promote engineering and manufacturing.

Philippa Oldham, head of manufacturing at the IMechE, said: “We have welcomed the interest shown in UK manufacturing by the main party leaders in recent months, but visits to factories and warm words of encouragement are not enough….Government must set out a clear, long-term industrial strategy with cross-party support. This strategy must look to address the engineering skills shortage and provide greater financial incentives”

Photo of Vitsoe Workshop by Adam Thompson of Manufacture & Industry



  1. Adam on April 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    This is interesting. I am trying to start a business making garden sculptures and at the start it was just so hard and expensive to find UK companies to work with. I now make them myself and hope to be able to keep them British when demand increases but there are just so few companies to work with.

    Public perception needs to change and British made needs to become appreciated more, without public support how can we compete with Chinese labour costs

    • David on April 18, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Hi Adam

      I have to agree with what you are saying about working with British companies and also competing with China on labour costs. The roller coaster we are all on with make it in Britain is great and I give it my full support but I have not come across anybody mentioning the costs involved of renting and maintaining a factory, electric, heating etc. Its not just all about labour costs. Affordable housing is mentioned all over the media but what about affordable factories. With a cheaper foundation to work from perhaps this would reflect on a more competitive market for many companies trying to manufacture in the UK.


  2. A quick change in planning laws would be a good start – both the act istself and how councils use it.

    A quick change in ideas of subsidised “development” and “redevelopment” would be good too. The Olympic site was billed as an improvement for the area despite demolishing acres of empty factories. Why empty? The landlords could not be bothered to let them for under £1,000 a month.

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