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Stay in reformed EU to keep economy on the right road, manufacturers say

BY Rachel | 23 July, 2014 | no comments

An overwhelming majority of manufacturers believe it is vital that Britain remains as part of the European Union and that any new government plays “a leading role in Brussels”.

The EEF said that 85 per cent of manufacturers believed that the national interest was best served by keeping the country in a reformed EU.

Demands to remain in the European bloc are one of five key priorities that the manufacturing industry organisation will set out today as a “road map” to help an incoming government to “drive better, balanced growth, boost trade and investment and deliver long-term economic security”.

Other priorities include a demand that the government implement the recommendations of the airports commission after the next election and that it promotes skills training, particularly for young people. The EEF also believes it is essential that a government creates a tax regime that encourages technological innovation to “keep Britain at the forefront of new technology through research and development”.

Finally, the organisation believes that any new government must review the carbon price floor and set up an office of resource management to carry out long-term energy and resource planning. Terry Scuoler, the EEF’s chief executive, said: “After such a traumatic period following the financial crash of 2008, we are now at a crucial stage for our economy, with confidence on the rise and a long-overdue recovery in UK business investment. This is delivering strong growth, boosting job creation and enabling more companies to develop overseas markets.

“Let us not pretend, however, that we are seeing the better balanced growth we need for the long term. Business has a crucial role to play, but government must also be a collaborative partner.”

The EEF’s submission, which comes before the autumn statement, follows a YouGov poll, which showed that more than eight in ten voters believed that a new government must promote stronger manufacturing that delivered more jobs. The research by YouGov, published last week, indicated that 79 per cent of people think that protecting and building on the economic recovery must be central to all political parties’ messages.

Mr Scuoler said: “Government and policymakers in 2015 and beyond must ensure that we never again allow the economy to become as unbalanced and destabilised as it was in 2008. All parties must now set out a clear vision for the UK economy, including how they will support rebalancing, strengthening the role of industry and manufacturing over the next parliament.”