Chris White MP, the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group (APMG), opened a debate in parliament on industrial strategy by backing the British manufacturing sector and calling for the strategy to recognise the long-term benefits of the UK’s strengths in Industry 4.0 – the increasing trend towards data enabled and automated manufacturing and services. As chair of the APMG and member of the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee Chris has long been a supporter of an over-arching and coherent industrial strategy.
In the chamber, Chris said:
“Highly capital-intensive advanced manufacturing requires long-term planning. There is a burden on companies to invest in skills and equipment, and a burden on the state to help create stability for long-term decision making—macroeconomic, fiscal and regulatory.”
“Any new industrial strategy must fit the times we live in, the domestic economy, the global marketplace and developing themes such as Industry 4.0.”
“Clearly, an industrial strategy needs to establish a framework—from how many children are studying STEM subjects at primary school, right through the industrially strategic pipeline to how many businesses are exporting… We used to say quite a lot about the long-term economic plan. We need an economic plan, and underneath any economic plan, we need a strong and robust industrial strategy.”
The House of Commons debated the government’s upcoming industrial strategy, which when announced will set out a coherent plan for manufacturing and services across the UK. The debate was opened by Chris White, Conservative MP for Warwick and Leamington and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group, Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove, Michelle Thomson, Independent MP for Edinburgh West, and Iain Wright, Labour MP for Hartlepool and chair of the BEIS select committee.
Cross-bench peer Lord Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer and Chair of the Manufacturing Commission, welcomed the debate in the commons saying:
“In the UK, manufacturing is a vital part of the economy, accounting for 45 per cent of our export goods and employing almost three million people. It contributes to vital skills development and attracts investment from across the world, particularly in R&D where this country excels – attracting as much as 14 per cent of all UK business investment, according to the EEF.”“I have for a long time called for the government to introduce a strategy to increase manufacturing as a proportion of GDP in the UK. In India, Prime Minister Modiintroduced the Make in India campaign to increase national manufacturing from 16per to 25 per cent of GDP by 2022 and I hope that we can introduce a similar industrialstrategy at the heart of our economic policy.”