A report published by manufacturersâ organisation EEF and banking group NatWest calls on government to set out its long-term industrial strategy to ensure business growth ambitions are supported across the pre- and post-Brexit divide.
The report, which surveyed 2,000 adults during August, reveals 90% agree that the UK needs a comprehensive, long-term industrial strategy, while 86% want government to promote a stronger manufacturing base in the UK.
In terms of manufacturers, the report found 76% were aiming for growth, while 71% have a three to five-year business plan in place to back up their ambitions.
Meanwhile, almost two thirds of firms (63%) are focused on driving up productivity, while margins (71%) and sales (64%) are also key targets in manufacturersâ growth plans, the report shows.
Supply chain collaboration is seen as crucial to growth, with over half of manufacturers (52%) already enhancing cooperation in areas such as production, design and development, and a further quarter (26%) planning to do so, the report adds.
Despite the optimistic outlook, however, the report also points out that the current trajectory of manufacturersâ business plans falls short of where the sector needs to be by 2026.
Terry Scuoler, chief executive officer of EEF, said: We need to get this right and we need to get this in place now so that manufacturersâ growth ambitions are supported across the pre- and post-Brexit divide. It is not enough to talk about an industrial strategy â it is time for the government to draw a line under the stop-go efforts of the past and to demonstrate its commitment to industry by putting some much-needed flesh on the bones.
Manufacturers are not just talking about future growth â they have firm plans in place to make it happen. Their ambition and drive will help get the sector and our economy on the road to stronger, better-balanced growth, but this must be matched by government. If we are to stay the distance and realise the full benefits for the UK then complacency is not an option.