Government R&D financial support key for UK manufacturing

Financial research and development (R&D) support and a better educated workforce top the list of priorities for the UK manufacturing sector.

Help from the government to invest in technology is essential for the future success of UK manufacturing businesses, according to a new report entitled "Rethink manufacturing: Designing a UK industrial strategy for the age of Industry 4.0".

The survey of leading manufacturing executives from large organisations shows that almost three quarters (70 per cent) of UK manufacturers believe that financial backing is needed from government in order to increase investment in emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and augmented reality.

Access to a better educated workforce, with stronger links between research institutions and the private sector, was also cited as a key priority for 65 per cent of respondents, stating that an improvement in the availability of skilled talent could help them increase productivity in their organisations.

A spokesperson explains: “The majority of UK manufacturing executives named financial support for R&D as a top priority from the government to help them boost their competitiveness and prepare for the digitalisation of manufacturing. Clearly there’s an appetite to embrace emerging technologies, as highlighted in the recent Industrial Strategy Green Paper.”

The green paper sets out 10 “strategic pillars” to underpin a new government approach:

1. Investing in science, research and innovation
2. Developing skills
3. Upgrading infrastructure
4. Supporting businesses to start and grow
5. Improving procurement
6. Encouraging trade and inward investment policy
7. Delivering affordable energy and clean growth
8. Cultivating world-leading sectors
9. Driving growth across the whole country
10. Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places

“The UK has an opportunity to position itself as a globally attractive and competitive base for advanced manufacturing."

Further findings show that 45 per cent of manufacturers believe a ‘hard’ Brexit will have a negative impact on their business, with 40 per cent of the UK’s largest manufacturers are considering a partial relocation of their plant or operations out of the UK to boost productivity or reduce costs.

"UK manufacturers realise that Brexit will demand a burst of innovation from both the private and public sectors if the UK is really going to reach new global markets and deliver on its potential.”

“A focus on openness to foreign investment, access to talent, engagement with new markets, a positive regulatory and legal environment, as well as a coherent industrial strategy will drive the UK to new levels of competitiveness and ensure manufacturers are ready to capitalise on digitalisation. It’s time for a rethink.”

At Beavis Morgan, our specialist advisers to the manufacturing sector are able to assist with all aspects of business performance including ensuring that adequate measures are put in place to protect the health of your business, both now and for the future.

Our Research & Development (R&D) tax credits team has also made a significant number of successful claims on behalf of clients who have invested in innovation.

Contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner for further information about how we can assist.