Supply chain investment boost

By | Business
Output in 11 of the 13 manufacturing subsectors recorded year-on-year growth. Image credit - www.oeko-tex.com

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has announced an investment of £100million to help companies strengthen their domestic supply chains and create or safeguard thousands of jobs.

The new funding will provide support for the increasing trend of becoming more self-sufficient, as companies bring manufacturing back to the UK from abroad.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said on the matter, “A strong manufacturing sector is vital to a balanced economic recovery, and I want to ensure that Britain’s supply chains are up to the task of supporting the sector in the long term. Our Industrial strategy, which has given business the confidence to invest, is paying dividends in the reshoring we have seen so far. We will continue to support businesses to secure more highly skilled jobs and a stronger economy.”

Previous recipients of funding from the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative have included technology for increasing the scale of 3D printing of metals and reshoring the manufacture of cats’ eyes from overseas to the UK.

The scheme aims to rebuild Britain’s manufacturing prowess. Four previous rounds of funding have secured nearly half a billion pounds of public-private investment to 44 projects including more than 180 organisations, directly creating or safeguarding more than 15,000 jobs. The scheme has indirectly created or safeguarded a further 15,000.

Companies across the UK are looking to strengthen their supply chains through capital investments, research & development and skills training, and will be able to start bidding for funding later in the spring.

In the UK the manufacturing sector supports 2 and a half million jobs and contributes almost £140billion a year to the UK. Manufacturing contributes £6.7trillion to the global economy. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, UK manufacturing is strong with the UK currently the 11th largest manufacturing nation in the world. Manufacturing makes up 11 percent of UK GVA and 54 percent of UK exports and directly employs 2.6million people.

Despite the decrease in production since the 1970s, when manufacturing contributed 25 percent of UK GDP, the UK ranks second globally in aerospace manufacturing.

The UK based auto industry exported a record-breaking 84 percent of its production in 2011 and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries add £20million per day to the UK balance of trade.

The UK manufacturing sector has made a positive start to 2014. Domestic and export demand increases have fed through to employment improvements across the sector. The UK manufacturing sector showed the highest growth figures compared to the other sectors. Manufacturing output grew by 1.0 percent February 2014 compared with January 2014, and was 3.8 percent higher than in February 2013, the biggest annual increase since February 2011.

Output in 11 of the 13 manufacturing subsectors recorded year-on-year growth. The rubber and plastics industry saw the fastest growth, with output 10.4 percent higher than a year ago.

Lee Hopley, the Chief Economist at the manufacturers organisation has said about the UK’s manufacturing sector, “”All manufacturing indicators are lining up for a strong half-year growth rate, highlighting that industry remains a vital cog in the UK’s continuing recovery.”

The government also has more plans for the UK to become increasingly self-sufficient with the announcement of eight major renewable energy projects. This includes offshore wind farms and conversions of coal-powered plants to run on biomass.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the projects would help power up to three million homes. He also expects them to attract £12bn in private investment and support 8,500 jobs.

“These investments are critical to make sure we have got secure, clean energy,” he said, pointing to energy supply issues arising from the Ukraine crisis. Mr. Davey also said the projects would add nearly 5% to the UK clean energy supply.

Do you believe the government should invest in the supply chain and what areas of the chain should the investment be focused on? 

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