Manufacturing - a sector that employs millions, contributes millions to our economy, and is built upon millions of innovative businesses, supply chains, and minds.
And yet, even after an unrelentingly difficult 18 months, we STILL don't have a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing…
A few months ago, I put a post out on my LinkedIn profile to see what my network thought. Rather unsurprisingly, 85% agreed we need, but most importantly, DESERVE, a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing.
How can a sector that is so instrumental to our country and its people, have no representation in Government? It is absolutely baffling.
Now I’m not someone who asks but doesn’t do, so with the overwhelming support of my professional network and colleagues, I’ve got the ball rolling.
I’m thrilled to announce that our growing initiative, SUM (‘Support UK Manufacturing – The Voice of the UK Supply Chain’), is now alive and kicking, and we’re here to make some serious changes.
Our influence and following is growing by the day, and our plan of action is simple: get a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing in Parliament who will actively support and represent our sector. We need strategy. We need guidance. But most importantly, we need representation.
SUM is founded upon a diverse and expert group of SME manufacturing owners, leaders and influencers - working across a plethora of industries. From automation, to specialist subcontractors. From technical business systems, to aerospace and motorsport. Our roster is broad and beautiful - just like our incredible sector and its people.
In rather typical fashion from the Government, we’ve been given an interim ‘solution’ - a Minister for Industry. Sounds fluffy, doesn’t it? Well that’s because it is.
Defining ‘industry’ is like trying to define the length of a string. It is so vast and vague, that the likelihood of anything relevant for our sector seeing the light of day is slim.
Our new ‘Minister’ is Lee Rowley, and our friends at MAKE UK have opened lines of communication with him. Suffice to say, from our SME perspective, they are rather insufficient.
In accordance with the Budget announcements recently, we are trying to steer our focus slightly in order to attain an in-person meeting with Mr. Rowley. We want, and deserve, a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing, but at the very least, expect a Commissioner for the sector.
We need someone with experience and excellence in manufacturing.
We need someone who understands the scale of our operations, the magnitude of our output, and our vital contribution to the British economy.
A title is a title - it’s just words.
We need legitimate action from someone who is passionate and proud of the UK’s unmistakable engineering excellence.
Naturally, we do have to be a little patient. Whilst I’m incredibly determined about SUM’s cause, I am also aware that it isn’t just the manufacturing sector who has had to navigate a torrid 18-24 months. The Government - as much as we like to complain about them - are frying a lot of fish right now.
That being said, the recent and ongoing supply chain issues, such as the fuel and logistics crises, perfectly highlight the sheer necessity for a Government representative. It is imperative that Parliament take responsibility for the economic issues which affect this country, its businesses, and its people. Supply chain issues just reaffirm how essential our UK manufacturing industry is - everything is fine and dandy until it isn't, and right now, it really isn’t...
How we progress is up for debate - and I greatly welcome your suggestions and input. It’s been recommended that we lobby the Civil Servants (the people behind the Ministers), who remain in post regardless of any political or cabinet changes. This means they are consistent, which for us right now, would be incredibly valuable.
Is there a way we can sell our industry needs and importance to these teams directly perhaps?
Alternatively, we have started exploring the benefits of an All-Party Group for Manufacturing. This essentially means we could discuss and campaign for the long-term under a collective plan. Maybe this could be a strategic choice?
Whatever the future has in store for us is yet to be discovered, but I know with your growing support and passion for SUM, we will achieve our goal. We will be recognised for our vital contributions to this country. We will have our voices heard. We will create change for the future of our sector.
But for now, please help us keep this fire burning. The bigger and brighter it burns, the quicker we will start getting attention. Please keep spreading our news, sharing your developments, and keep the UK manufacturing positive news and commentary flowing across social media, your websites and more. Together we are stronger.
Support UK Manufacturing. Support its people. Support your sector.