By Maximilian Clarke

The UK’s biggest union has called for a government strategy to protect the UK’s industry, advocating ‘interventionist policies’ and using government spending power to support flagging industries.

Dubbed 2020 vision- Unite Strategy for Manufacturing[/i], Unite’s strategy seeks to restore industry to the forefront of the UK economy by government direct action; differing from the current coalition government who sought to boost manufacturing through strengthening trade ties with the UK’s top trading partners as well as be forging new ones.

Unite, the UK’s largest union, believes a strong and sustainable manufacturing sector is essential to the economic prosperity of the UK. Tony Burke, who has overall responsibility for manufacturing in the union, will highlight the importance for the UK economy to have a robust and skilled manufacturing base.

Manufacturing is the lifeblood of our economy,” commented Tony Burke, Unite’s industry rep. “However, the problem is this Tory-led coalition government has no long-term strategy on UK manufacturing and is doing more damage to UK manufacturing than any previous Conservative government.

“This government is strong on manufacturing rhetoric but weak on delivery. Actions speak louder than words and the actions, so far, have fallen woefully short of what is needed to provide the support for manufacturing which has been missing for so long. If this government is serious about rebalancing the economy, we need to invest in the UK’s manufacturing skills base with a long-term solution.

Unite has proposed the ten pillars upon which manufacturing should be based which are:
1. Build a framework of policies to defend strategically important industries.
2. Continued financial support through interventionist policies.
3. Targeted support for small and medium sized enterprises.
4. Better use of government purchasing power to secure manufacturing jobs in the UK.
5. Maximising the opportunities that the low carbon revolution offers.
6. Delivery of an education and skills framework which meets all industry’s needs.
7. Creating a university structure which builds on the science base so necessary to secure high skilled jobs.
8. Create right investment environment for research and development.
9. Creation of a level playing field to deliver security and fair pricing for energy.
10. A framework of legislation which promotes transparency and engagement for all stakeholders in the future of manufacturing.

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