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Engineers stipulate terms for industrial strategy

Industrial manifesto

The Royal Academy for Engineering has set out five ways the next government can make the Modern Industrial Strategy a success in a pre-election manifesto.

The 100 page manifesto was published in consultation with all 38 of the UK’s engineering bodies and their members, including the ICE. It says the next government must invest in the UK engineering sector, describing it as “critical” to delivering the Modern Industrial Strategy outcomes.

The government set out its modern industrial strategy in a Green Paper in January, naming 10 “strategic pillars” on which its success would depend. These include improving procurement, investing in research and upgrading infrastructure.

“The government’s renewed focus on industrial strategy is a crucial and very welcome step towards engineering an economy that works for all. The success of this endeavour is critical for the future of the UK,” says the manifesto.

“We stand ready to support the delivery of a modern industrial strategy that works for the whole of the UK.”

In the manifesto, the Academy calls for a “shared vision” between government and industry, stressing the need for a clear, long-term plan for infrastructure projects to encourage confidence in the industry.

It also calls for a target of 3% of GDP for public and private sector research and development, along with measures to make sure the country is still attractive to talented non-UK nationals, and keep Britain outward-looking after leaving the European Union.

Around 450,000 members of the engineering bodies were surveyed for the manifesto over 12 weeks.

Five priorities for industrial strategy success:

  1. Define a global vision for the UK. The next government should make sure the UK can attract international talent and trade
  2. Invest in homegrown skills. Tackle the shortage of vital digital skills by fully funding vocational education and upskilling the workforce
  3. Support innovation. Develop better collaboration between businesses and universities, and accept the risk of failure as the price for innovation.
  4. Spread the benefits of engineering across the UK. Best practice should be identified and used, and local institutions such as catapults and universities must be held up to national standards of excellence
  5. Develop a long term strategy on infrastructure. Encourage confidence and investment in the industry by offering a clear, long term plan for infrastructure, including energy and digital infrastructure. Energy efficiency should be a key driver, as should economic growth

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