Campaigners urge UK electorate to �Vote Manufacturing�

Industry leaders in the UK are campaigning to persuade candidates in the upcoming parliamentary election of the need for a strong manufacturing sector as part of a balanced and successful economy.

The UK manufacturing sector ought to be a powerful constituency. It employs three million people directly and almost as many manufacturing service providers, and when you add in their relatives, it comes to some 10 million voters. That is enough to decide an election, as the backers of the Vote Manufacturing Campaign pointed out when it was launched at the recent Future of UK Manufacturing conference.  

Candidates from all political parties will therefore talk a good case when they are trying to win a seat. The campaigners said their aim was to make sure candidates back that talk with appropriate, decisive and immediate actions.

“Just a few years ago, the feeling was that the UK needed to plan for a post industrial economy; one based on finance,” said campaign director Ed Tranter. “But after a period of enormous economic change, within the UK and the wider world, manufacturing has never been more important. With economists and politicians of every type agreeing that manufacturing is the key to a balanced and successful economy, the stage is firmly set for the discussion of how we get to that point.”

He added: “Turning the nation’s back on the manufacturing industry has put the entire economy in deep danger. If our manufacturers exported 10 per cent more and we bought 10 per cent less from manufacturers overseas, the annual balance of payments would improve by £45bn. That’s more than the entire financial sector now contributes and large enough that it could reduce the UK’s national debt by £200bn in 10 years. No other business sector offers such great potential for restoring UK prosperity.”

The Vote Manufacturing campaigners called on the next government to put engineering and manufacturing back at the heart of the UK economy. They said that doing that would require firm and practical action on cultural change, skills, incentives and taxes, and energy costs.

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