How will manufacturing be supported by Number 10?

As the election draws near, it is worth asking what the mind boggling array of possible outcomes will bring for manufacturing? 

Cast your mind back to 2010 and you may recall a repeated emphasis on the desperate need to rebalance our economy away from its ill fated reliance on the financial services sector.

The sudden realisation that exporting more tangible goods, making more of our own manufactured goods and thus importing less would have a significant impact on the current account dawned.

Indeed, key economic commentators at the time stated that a 10% increase in exporting and a 10% decrease in importing would wipe out the current account deficit.

In 2015 the emphasis on rebalancing seems to have disappeared from the debate on our TV screens whilst the deficit remains.

The strong emphasis of the current election campaign on austerity questions the need to increase or protect expenditure on our public services and highlights to me even more the desperate need to have a clear industrial vision and strategy for our country to support these ever growing demands.

There is a feeling that we are rearranging the deckchairs on the titanic for the sake of feeding tempting morsels of promises to the electorate whilst the big issues remain unaddressed. How will we grow the economy to deliver this?

The need for rebalancing remains, the need to drive up investment in skills, technology and expansion of our manufacturing and technology businesses remains. The party manifestos are light on the detail of both the what and the how. Will this just happen if we leave it to the free market? The answer came in the crisis of 2009.

Lets hope whatever outcome we see in the coming weeks, the lessons have been learnt and the enduring value of manufacturing and the need to support and grow it continues to be recognised.

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