Remembering the Future
Another summer, another shock result in the unpredictable world of British politics. With the national picture seemingly more complex now than ever before, and with a government that has more than enough to deal with, it would hardly be surprising if Westminster let some of the country’s other problems slip off its radar.
But while it wouldn’t be surprising, it would certainly be a very grave mistake. The UK has some significant issues to take care of, even beyond the ones currently grabbing all the headlines. Take one of the issues closest to our hearts here at Cadence, the productivity gap. British manufacturing is in much better shape than is commonly supposed, but there’s lots of work to be done – our European neighbours have made much better progress than us in automating their factories it’s a contributory factor in their 20% better productivity.
Closing the productivity gap will require focused, long-term engagement from the government, and there are many other issues that will require a similar level of commitment. So far, during her time in office, Theresa May has announced not only a new Industrial Strategy, but also new technical qualifications for young people. We welcome both of these initiatives.
But there is no escaping the significance of Brexit. The nature of our future relationship with Europe could have a profound effect on our manufacturing sector. A bad outcome for the UK could cause disruption to supply chains and introduce new costs that could severely damage our ability to compete on price. We therefore believe it’s critically important that the government continues to keep industry top of its list of its priorities in the months and years to come, and does everything it can to secure a favourable agreement. The manufacturing sector employs 2.6m people in the UK and some of those jobs are maintaining entire communities. To jeopardise them would be a terrible mistake.
Fortunately, there are lots of reasons for optimism. The sector itself is performing well, exports are growing and there are promising signs that manufacturers are beginning to take seriously the Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. Without clear focus and good cooperation between government and industry, we have everything to fear. With them, the UK’s manufacturing sector can continue to go from strength to strength.
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