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From planes, trains and automobiles to medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and light bulbs, the rich and diverse nature of the UK manufacturing industry is the foundation of a balanced and robust economy. The CBI works with business and government to support these industries to ensure that they continue to do what Britain does best: making things.

Top priorities

  • Future of the industry – UK Manufacturing has been in a structural decline for the last 25 years: Manufacturing accounted for 15.8% of the economy in 1990, and has now fallen by a third to 9.6%. Preventing the sector from further decline is a key priority for us.
  • Industrial Strategy – Industrial Strategy is the government-industry partnership that is necessary for industry to flourish when the market has failed. At the Future of UK Manufacturing Conference, the Director-General of the CBI called for a renewed focus on a sectoral Industrial Strategy from the government. We will continue to lobby on this issue which is vital to UK prosperity.
  • The 4th Industrial Revolution – More than just a fashionable phrase, the 4th Industrial Revolution describes the next chapter for industry. It collectively describes technologies such as Internet of Things, Internet of Services and Big Data that will fundamentally change how manufacturing works and improve productivity and efficiency on the shop floor.

Policy issues affecting the industry

  • Shaping the innovation landscape – With new technology offering increased efficiency and productivity on the shop floor, innovation is a vital topic for manufacturers. Our submission to the government on the National Innovation Plan highlighted the key ingredients for a vibrant innovation environment.
  • Addressing the skills crisis – STEM skills are in crisis in the manufacturing sector - half of businesses (55%) are not confident of finding people with higher-level skills. We are currently focussed on lobbying to ensure that the forthcoming Apprenticeship Levy works for the industry, as well as supporting the next generation of leaders.
  • Energy intensive industries – UK electricity costs are among the highest globally – nearly 80% above the EU median. The CBI are vocal supporter for these industries, to ensure they get the support they need to meet the costs of energy policies, and that as the government considers its industrial strategy, a low carbon plan for these industries remains central.
  • Exports – Manufacturing accounts for 44% of UK exports however they are under major pressure; the strength of sterling has made exports international competition increasingly tough. A new report on exports Best in Class which looks at lessons the UK government can learn from how other countries support businesses to export.

How to get involved

  • Come to our events – As a member you’ll receive invites to exclusive events throughout the year with high profile speakers from business and politics such as the Future of UK Manufacturing Conference.
  • Get the latest intelligence – Access to insights from our manufacturing policy team and other businesses direct to your inbox by subscribing to our Manufacturing Update Newsletter.

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