Action to support manufacturers could boost the UK economy by £30billion and create up to 500,000, a new report has claims.
The CBI has set out proposals to “kick start” industrial firms, including setting targets for female employment and encouraging more research and development (R&D).
The CBI report revealed problems such as under-investment in R&D, a growing skills crisis and weakened foundation industries that are key to advanced manufacturing – such as plastics, metals and chemicals.
To tackle these issues, the CBI is urging the Government to set a long-term target for public and private sector spending on R&D to rise to 3% of GDP.
This could be done by widening the R&D tax credit to support the later stages of the commercialisation and manufacture of innovative British products and doubling spending on the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, over the course of the next parliament.
The body also wants to see financially incentivised for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees, and ensuring more graduates take up jobs in these sectors, as well as ramping up female participation in manufacturing, with targets.
Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:
“The molten metals of manufacturing have long coursed through the veins of our economy. Optimism within industry is now rising at a strong rate, and investment intentions are on the up.
“But it’s time for some fresh thinking. We need to see a bold strategy that breathes new life into our supply chains, and makes the UK the destination of choice for manufacturing high value products. This could provide a £30billion boost to the economy, and create half a million extra jobs.”