8 June 2017

  |  CBI Press Team


Industrial strategy for Yorkshire needed to lock in Sheffield's success

A strategic, long-term industrial strategy is needed for Sheffield to capitalise on its position as a world-leader in advanced manufacturing, the CBI’s President will say tonight (Thursday).

Industrial strategy for Yorkshire needed to lock in Sheffield's success

Paul Drechsler, President of the UK’s largest business group, will also focus on Sheffield’s universities and transport links in a speech at CBI Yorkshire and Humber’s inaugural Sheffield Dinner, to be held at Sheffield City Hall.

On manufacturing, Paul Drechsler CBE, CBI President, will say:

“For decades, Yorkshire has been known for manufacturing. Today, South Yorkshire, in particular, has taken manufacturing to the next level.

“When firms can’t solve their problems anywhere else, they come to the Sheffield City Region. Right now, right under our noses, nine local authorities are working together with the area’s fantastic universities, making this region a magnet for innovation. 

“Last month, Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre celebrated its centenary, and now boasts a ‘roll call’ of global giants. In years to come, when you see a Boeing plane in the sky, the wing flaps that got it there will be built in Rotherham. And when you see a McLaren sports car on the roads, its chassis will have been built in Rotherham too.

“So, it’s clear that Sheffield City Region is a world-leader in advanced manufacturing. But, what we need now is a strategy. Whichever party gets the most votes this evening will need an Industrial Strategy.

“An Industrial Strategy which is a ‘survivor’ – which makes it through the elections and politics and comes out the other side unharmed. We want to see a newly created unit modelled on Office for Budget Responsibility, which would measure the Industrial Strategy’s progress towards its goals, such as reducing regional inequalities.”

On universities, Paul will say:

“The first thing that we should celebrate tonight are Sheffield’s world-class universities. The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University - which is leading the charge for the city’s gaming industry, attracting students from all over the world with the largest PlayStation laboratory outside of California.

“That’s fantastic. And let’s remember that every satisfied customer of our world-class education system is a mini-trade envoy for the United Kingdom.

“Every time someone in China mentions Sheffield or York or Leeds at the dinner table, we’re spreading our influence.

“Every time someone in India looks proudly at a degree certificate from a British university sitting on a mantelpiece, we’re spreading our influence.

“Every time someone in Malaysia Googles the league tables and sees our universities at the top, we’re spreading our influence. On investment, on research, on innovation.

“Our world-class universities are an asset, and that’s something we should shout about.”

On transport, Paul will say:

“Imagine we reduced the time it takes to travel from Sheffield to Leeds, Leeds to Manchester and Manchester to Liverpool from the hour it takes today to just 30 minutes - which is by no means impossible.

“This would spark a quiet revolution in the North, as – with their commute halved – people in Manchester and Sheffield thought about working in Leeds, and vice-versa.

“And it would also bring 18 million people – a population larger than the Northern Powerhouse – within an hour of Leeds. This really matters for productivity. Reducing the travel time from Sheffield City Centre from 45 minutes to just 30 minutes could raise the city’s productivity by 9%.”