Business leaders urge fresh investment in manufacturing

Business leaders today called for fresh investment in manufacturing to help boost innovation, skills and jobs amid warnings that the UK economy was at a "crossroads". 

The Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) said the next government faced difficult choices about rebuilding the economy, with decisions made in the first 100 days of the new administration having lasting implications.

The group said a fresh approach was needed with the aim of reducing the cost of government while rebuilding the economy by investing in innovation, business support schemes and skills while maintaining labour market flexibility.

Steve Radley, the EEF's director of policy, said: "At the start of the last decade, EEF warned that the UK's economy was at a crossroads - either we grew our manufacturing base or our economy would suffer. After a painful and prolonged recession, the UK is back at that crossroads.

"We need to look again at what sort of economy we want in the future and how we get there. Yet the current economic and political debate is stale, glossing over complex yet pressing practicalities of how to rebuild and rebalance our economy, how to repair the public finances and how to create jobs and boost investment.

"More people are beginning to realise the scale of the challenge, the value of manufacturing and the need for a strategic approach, but the current debate is rooted in dated images of industry that simply do not recognise why modern manufacturing remains successful and fail to grasp what it needs to thrive in UK.

"By putting manufacturing at the heart of healthy economy, our manifesto is a clear, practical strategy for building a more prosperous Britain."

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