However, the government needs to take the strategy to the next level and fill in the gaps ahead of the forthcoming White Paper in a new Policy Digest.
The call comes alongside a new survey published by the manufacturers’ organisation and carried out by YouGov showing ambitious public backing for the UK to be a top five manufacturing nation by output.
The survey also shows public support for government backing for industry with 82% of adults saying a strong manufacturing base is essential for the UK economy’s future prosperity.
In the Making the Industrial Strategy Work for UK Manufacturing Policy Digest, EEF sets out how the final draft of the industrial strategy can match the ambition of manufacturers and the nation by providing greater clarity of support for industry as there is in other countries. EEF data shows just 8% of companies believe the UK has supportive policies for manufacturers, compared to 65% who say Germany has.
Says EEF chief economist Ms Lee Hopley: “The UK is facing a potentially game-changing point as we leave the EU whilst the sector is also on the cusp of massive technological change and grappling with long-term investment decisions. These challenges will continue regardless of what shape the final Brexit deal takes. Industry will have to be nimble in navigating challenges and quickly grasping new opportunities in order to fulfil public ambition for Britain to be a dominant manufacturing nation.
“The development of an ambitious industrial strategy with cross government buy-in is critical for meeting industrial ambition and the sector wants to work with government to make this a success. Policy makers must now focus on evolving the positive policy framework set out earlier in the year into clear strategy which gives manufacturers confidence about the competitiveness of the UK in the future.”
EEF sets out in the paper what steps the government can take:
- Set out a clear vision of what a successful outcome for Britain looks like, including clear metrics to track progress
- Include a focus on the cost of doing business, which is missing in the strategy. The cost base underpins the competitiveness of the UK as a location for manufacturing
- Provide guidance on the Sector Deals process to clarify the rules and ensure SMEs can engage
- Set out a plan to roll out Devolution Deals to all areas of England, the first draft limits ambition to just cities
- Outline how cross-government policy consistency will be achieved, to avoid different departments undermining the objectives of the strategy and each other