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BEIS Minister Addresses APMG ‘Reception for UK Manufacturing’ in the House of Lords

BEIS Minister Addresses APMG ‘Reception for UK Manufacturing’ in the House of Lords

18th July 2017

On the afternoon of Monday 17th July the APMG and EEF co-hosted a parliamentary summer reception for British manufacturers on the House of Lords river terrace. The event was a great success, attended by over 100 manufacturers and industry figures, meeting to network and discuss the political issues facing manufacturing today.

The APMG was also pleased to welcome the Under-Secretary of State for BEIS and Minister for Energy & Industry, Richard Harrington MP to give the keynote address and to bring our manufacturing members together with a key individual at the heart of developing the government’s industrial strategy. Mr Harrington spoke warmly about reaching out to business and listening to the views of everyone in the room. The minister spoke warmly about his support for industry, stating:

“I really believe that business collectively has got together and given a firm message for government, and that firm message is: ‘We are worried about what’s going to happen with Brexit and we entrust you  to make sure that for us, in whatever business we are in, its business as usual.’ I can promise you, from myself, from Greg Clark, from Margot James, from everybody in our department, that we are here because it is the future of business.”

Speaking about the Industrial Strategy, which he described as the “cornerstone” of the department, the minister said:

"I think people now realise that centralisation alone was not the answer. I think people on the other side of politics, people who just believed that the market mechanism alone was enough to deal with everything, I think that’s also something that has gone into a different era. We believe that with our industrial strategy, we have got things right.  That we have got this balance which means businesses being involved in the pillars of the different parts of strategy."

The reception was chaired by Lord Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer and chair of the Manufacturing Commission, with a speech by chief executive of the EEF, Terry Scuoler CBE. Finally, the reception heard from Jessica Tozer, the winner of the EEF Young Apprentice of the Year 2016; Jessica’s speech on what it is like to be a young woman entering the manufacturing profession today was very warmly received by all the attendees.

Terry Scuoler, CEO of the EEF, also spoke on his recent experience of representing businesses to the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, David Davis MP as well as addressing our Brexit negotiations:

“We have just over twelve months’ time before some kind of deal must be agreed, and it must be taken before both the EU and UK parliaments for ratification. Who on earth would wish to unravel the best free trade agreement in the world that is currently, of course, the single market.

Business needs a sensible, perhaps balanced, demand-led flow of labour at all levels to retain the skills base that we need, not just to grow, but simply to maintain our economy. We also need an agreement that supports ongoing frictionless trade, ensuring that no non-tariff barriers do not impede or prevent our ability to trade. Lastly, a meaningful transition period to allow business to prepare and implement whatever new arrangements are agreed We in the UK continue to be a great trading nation and I am cautiously reassured, I am cautiously optimistic, that with a sense of balance, proportion and compromise, we can secure a good or goodish deal with our EU partners”

Lord Bilimoria, chair of the Manufacturing Commission and vice-chair of the APMG, commented on the effect of continued uncertainty around Brexit on the manufacturing sector by quoting the motto of Policy Connect:

“However, the challenge that awaits us is the wretched referendum, and Brexit. Now, I don’t know how many of you voted to remain and how many voted to leave, the challenge is very much the motto I have here: research, engage and collaborate.”

Finally, closing the event, Lord Bilimoria looked to the future and the role of the UK and the British manufacturing sector in the world:

“The All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group is brilliant at championing manufacturing, as is the EEF. I think that we as Britain, have a huge role to play. Although we are no longer the global manufacturing power that we were, we are still very much a global power and manufacturing is a key part of our influence in the world.”

Photos from the event can be viewed here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/policy_connect/sets/72157683769490114