Manufacturing an election campaign

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Our latest forecasts predict that the news in the next 16 consecutive Mondays will be dominated by political speeches and policy announcements, seeking to set the tone for the election campaign priorities in the week ahead.

This is, therefore, an opportune time to set out what manufacturers would hope to see and hear from political parties, not just in the next four months, but crucially in the next five years beyond May 7th.

One vision



The election rhetoric will inevitably boil down to a handful of headline messages. For industry, one of these must be the economy. Yes, keeping the recovery on track is vital; Yes, the next government must finish the job on sorting out the public finances; and Yes, generating more good quality, well-paid jobs is a must.

But beyond these vote-winners, what will successful economic management look like in 2020? In what still looks like an uncertain world for businesses considering whether, where and what to invest in, there are points to be scored by politicians offering a clear vision for the type of economy and growth they will seek to foster in the next parliament.

For manufacturers, a vision that prioritises the pursuit of balanced growth would give a strong steer that business policies, tax reforms and regulations would be geared towards ensuring the UK remains a great place for manufacturers to invest and grow in the next five years.

Five specifics



Manufacturers have also been clear about where the policy focus from the next government needs to concentrate on to make this a reality.

Here’s a reminder of the priorities we set out in the Autumn (for more detail see here)

SKILLS – producing highly motivated, skilled young people willing and capable of entering the world of manufacturing, engineering and wider industry.

INNOVATION – funding and incentivising businesses to research and develop new products, technologies and services and supporting our exporters to sell more abroad.

ENERGY AND RESOURCE SECURITY
– putting in place the planning, investment and technology needed to secure a competitively priced energy supply and other natural resources for the future.

INFRASTRUCTURE – ensuring the UK is prepared and ahead of the curve in providing vital transport and digital capability as part of long-term planning.

STAYING IN THE EU - the national interest will be best served by keeping Britain in a reformed EU, one which is focused on trade, extending the free market and improving opportunities for growth in jobs and industry among all member states.

We’ll be blogging on all of these priorities in more detail and responding to the business issues of the day in the coming weeks.

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Chief Economist

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