What can be done to boost the manufacturing sector?


Manufacturers are calling for a government-backed autumn of action on business growth – and they have put forward some compelling arguments.


The industry group EEF believes removing barriers to investment and expansion should be pivotal to government policy. The call to action follows Lord Heseltine’s independent review of how government departments deliver growth policies and financial support.


Removing hurdles to growth


The EEF says the review should spur the government to remove hurdles facing dynamic companies that can drive sustained growth through trade and investment.


It wants to see action to deliver funding, a ‘systematic attack’ on the cost and regulatory burden on businesses and improve export support services to manufacturers aiming to enter new markets.


Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF describes the Heseltine Review as welcome recognition that all parts of government must back companies aiming to expand to create a more prosperous economy.


Manufacturers will also applaud the review’s opinion that support for exports needs to be better resourced and more accessible. In addition, the report advances some thought-provoking views on how business can play a greater role in influencing the way government budgets are spent and how business support is delivered.


Making it easier to take on new employees


The report chimes with Moore and Smalley’s research with SMEs which found that cutting the rate of employer National Insurance contributions would stimulate businesses and the economy. Our online survey found that 40 per cent of business owners would prefer a cut in the rate of employer NICs to other tax cuts because they believe lower NICs would encourage businesses to create new jobs at a time when company finances are stretched.


The report also reflects our conviction that growth simply won’t happen on its own. Something needs to be done to galvanise investment, invigorate entrepreneurial activity, and activate job creation.


Lord Heseltine has produced insightful analysis of how we can generate a more competitive economy. His report provides some useful ammunition and it is now for the government to look into ways of firing it.