CBI: UK's Economic Strengths

UK's Economic Strengths

Where do the UK's economic strengths lie?
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The CBI believes the UK can boost its economy by exploiting a competitive advantage over its rivals in several key areas - including these: Click on the elements opposite to reveal further information. Read more from the CBI on industrial strategy
Potential increase in sales to Chinese premium market by 2020

The UK has a world-class reputation for design and innovation, especially in premium brands, and some of the most productive manufacturing plants in Europe. It is at the forefront of new green technology, with significant proportions of the £5.8bn of investment announced by UK manufacturers and their supply chains since 2010 going on low-carbon automotive.

Key actions include:
  • Establish a ‘Catapult Centre’ to research and develop technology for low-carbon vehicles
  • Prioritise funding in UKTI's budget for automotive expert promotion in high-growth markets
More on the automotive sector
Export growth to Asia in next 10 years with current market share

The UK is a key R&D and high-tech manufacturing location for globally important industry players, who benefit from its excellent universities and established strengths in engine and wing design, material technologies and advanced system design.

Key actions include:
  • Commit to support aerospace R&D projects for the full duration of their development
  • Ensure the R&D tax credit for businesses engaged in defence contracts as it moves to the new ‘above the line’ accounting system
More on the aerospace sector
Chemicals & pharmaceuticals
Potential rise in value of exports to BRIC countries over 10 years

The UK has strong links between chemical production and use – meaning it has integrated, innovative value chains reaching into education and the research sectors. As a world leader in formulation science, speciality chemicals and novel pharmaceuticals, the UK is ideally positioned to lead in growth fields such as industrial biotechnology.

Key actions include:
  • Reform health body the National Institute of Clinical Excellence ahead of Value-Based Pricing, to ensure medicines are not simply judged on how cost-effective they are
  • Exempt energy intensive industries such as chemicals from additional costs as a result of the implementation of Electricity Market Reform to preserve international competitiveness
More on the chemicals &
pharmaceuticals sector
In potential extra exports to non-EU countries by 2020

The UK boasts significant and diverse activity in the food and drink sector, from farms through to highly productive manufacturing plants and celebrated retailers. It has many internationally recognised brands and high levels of innovation - some 50,000 new product variants were launched between 2005 and 2011. The UK is a world leader in areas including health food and premium ready meals.

Key actions include:
  • Focus on supporting export promotion for the UK food and drink industry, with resource in UKTI set aside to helping SMEs enter non-EU markets that have the greatest potential to grow
  • Support universities to incorporate short food and drink-focused courses within science and engineering degrees
More on the agri-food sector
Green technology
& services
Current trade surplus in green technology and service

Industrial expertise and research strengths in biotechnology, maths, advanced materials, control systems, electronics, engine technology and energy management drives growth. Specific strengths range from green manufacturing and alternative fuels to tidal power demonstrators and services such as carbon trading and environmental consultancy.

Key actions include:
  • Enact the Energy Bill with requisite detail as soon as possible to ensure investor confidence
  • Scrap the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) and replace with a time-limited simple energy tax
More on the green
technology & services sector
Knowledge intensive business services (KIBS)
Potential increase in KIBS exports to Latin America, Asia and Africa

The UK is a world-leading global hub for high-end services - second only to the US in exports, but three times bigger per capita. Its expertise lies not only in financial services, where it has the largest market share in the world, but also in business services with a total of 14% of global market share and number one world status for insurance, computer and information services.

Key actions include:
  • Boost the UK's international competitiveness by delivering the 22p corporation tax rate and committing to reducing the rate to 18p in the long-term
  • Ensure the UK is an attractive market for high-quality talent by benchmarking its personal tax regime against global competitors
More on the KIBS sector
Creative industries
Of all UK exports are from the creative industries

The UK has a huge back catalogue of creative content to draw upon including music, literature and film, plus star performers and a strong pipeline of new ideas. It also has internationally recognised brands, companies and talent in a broad range of sectors.

Key actions include:
  • Enhance digital literacy through the education system so the next generation of employees can programme computers as well as use them
  • Ensure the 4G spectrum auction stays on track for 2013 to give businesses the confidence required to invest
More on the creative industries sector

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