15 September 2008 | Paul Snell
The government has unveiled measures aimed at boosting the UK manufacturing sector.
The plans include a £150 million investment to help the sector take advantage of new business opportunities and remain competitive in the global economy.
The government singled out six areas the sector needs to improve: making the most of the move to a low-carbon economy, improving skills, supporting overseas growth, better use of technology, working with other parts of the economy and boosting the sector's image.
Included are plans for UK Trade and Investment to support 600 manufacturers in identifying opportunities for production, and in global supply chains in India and China.
There are also plans to expand apprenticeship schemes, inviting bids from larger firms to train apprentices with a focus on supply chain roles.
The three areas of growth highlighted for manufacturing in the low-carbon economy were nuclear energy, renewable energy and low-carbon vehicles. Both the Office for Nuclear Development and a new Office for Renewable Energy Deployment will look at how to reduce barriers for firms to access supply chains and £20 million of public spend will be set aside for the purchase of low-carbon and zero-emission vans.
The plans were welcomed by the CBI, but it said the proof would be in their execution. "The government's new framework contains some fresh thinking - with a welcome emphasis on improving manufacturing skills, its public image, technology and the low-carbon economy. It must now deliver on its plans," said Ian McCafferty, the CBI's chief economic adviser. See news focus