Tuesday, 28 February 2012

By: Neil Ritchie, Local Business Unit Manager, LV Drives at ABB
At the recently held Manufacturing Summit at Bristol and Bath Science Park, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced a £1bn injection into the Regional Growth Fund to help manufacturing businesses.

The extra cash comes on top of the £1.4bn that has already been allocated through the first two phases and businesses have until June to apply for their share of the pot.

The funding will create new jobs and help areas that are over reliant on the public sector.

Any extra help for manufacturing is always welcome; however more needs to be done to help establish it as one of the main drivers of the UK economy. Over the last 30 years, the UK's manufacturing economy has shrunk by two-thirds, so maybe much more funding needs to be made available to rebuild what we have lost?

The opportunity exists for the UK to develop new cutting edge industries through the fledgling green economy. With the government imposing tough carbon reduction legislation, maybe they should be supporting businesses that are developing technology that can help others reduce their footprints? As tough green legislation increasingly becomes prominent across global governments, the UK, if it acts quickly could lead the way in the sector, but this all depends on the support given to help establish it.

I am not complaining about our industry being given a boost, in fact I am hugely pleased that the Regional Growth Fund has helped over 170 businesses and helped to create and protect 330,000 jobs. However I believe that if we are to continue making things in the UK and are to lead the way in certain sectors, then the government needs to provide a greater level of support.

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