Manufacturers in the South West believe government promises to boost their sector are “empty rhetoric”, according to new research.
Bristol-based accountants and business advisors BDO LLP say that while almost all of manufacturers value ministers’ message that manufacturing is essential to the UK economy, only one in four see policy pledges translating into concrete change.
The creation of an “industrial bank”, a new focus on manufacturing skills and a more supportive tax system are among ideas supported. There is also a call for increased patriotism with UK companies to be favoured when large public contracts are awarded, and more focus on exports to reduce dependence on the eurozone.
Meanwhile, more than two thirds (67%) of the region’s manufacturers predict overall improvement in the economic outlook in 10 years’ time, but a third (33%) are not confident that manufacturing will be a core sector of the UK economy.
“If there’s one overriding message we’re hearing from manufacturers, it’s that words are not enough. Our research suggests that policy pledges amount to empty rhetoric, not concrete change,” said John Talbot from BDO.
“Optimism for longer term economic growth is encouraging, but it’s worrying that the region’s manufacturers don’t envisage they’ll have a significant role in achieving it – especially given the government’s insistence on the sector’s importance to the rebalancing of the economy.”