Today (7 July) is the UK’s first National Manufacturing Day, and Make UK is calling on Government to set an ambitious target for the country’s manufacturers to deliver a 15 per cent share of UK GDP, up from 10 per cent this year.

To mark the day, Make UK has published a short bulletin, Manufacturing: State of the Industry, the Potential for Growth, which suggests that growing manufacturing’s contribution of GDP would deliver £142 billion to Britain’s economy and would help to achieve the Government’s desire to level up large swathes of the country.

It is calling on the Government to work with industry to develop a reinvigorated Industrial Strategy to help turbo-boost untapped potential. This comes as these latest figures, reveals that just three quarters of companies have not heard of the Government’s ‘Plan for Growth’, which Ministers heralded earlier this year as the replacement for the long-awaited Industrial Strategy, which laid out a long-term growth plan for manufacturing in the UK.

Manufacturers have said they are ready to grow, but they cannot do this alone – they need the right support from Government to create the correct business environment to enable companies to thrive.

When asked to pick the top three initiatives to help them grow their business in the next five years, companies put incentives for investment top of the list, with investment in apprenticeships second and stronger local industrial strategies coming in third place for 27 per cent of manufacturers. Greater support for exports was also seen as key, with 22 per cent of companies surveyed saying greater power for local leaders making good local decisions for business was key.

Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, said: “Government has already identified manufacturing as a growth sector and has done much to support it, firstly through incredibly challenging environment of the pandemic and with a series of measures to help the sector bounce back as trade started to normalise.

“However, to further tap into the growth, agility and resilience Britain’s manufacturers have shown over the last two years, imaginative solutions are needed to make sure the full potential is reached. It is not an overly ambitious target to say that manufacturing can grow to deliver 15 per cent share of UK GDP, but Government does need to help companies be confident enough to make big investment decisions by helping with some key incentives.”

Some 13 per cent of manufacturers told Make UK that help for investment in digital technologies would also enable them to speed up their growth plans. Cutting edge technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI) among others are transforming the sector, with investment turbo-boosted during the pandemic. Lower costs, increased productivity and achieving carbon emission reduction are some of the benefits manufacturers are already seeing.