Last week Director of Policy Verity Davidge and Chief Economist Seamus Nevin spoke to Politico about the challenges facing manufacturing, and what we are calling for ahead of the Chancellor’s Spring Fiscal Statement.
Here are a few snippets:
🛢 Oil be damned:
Influence sits down with Make UK’s Policy Director Verity Davidge and Chief Economist Seamus Levin just as news breaks that the U.K. is slapping a ban on imports of Russian oil
. It’s a big gambit, and one Levin says could add to the indirect costs of the Ukraine conflict manufacturers are already taking on.
👀 One to watch: Raw metals, particularly of the precious kind, are another casualty of the conflict’s trade disruption. Nickel and platinum “come almost exclusively” from Russia, says Levin, and engine parts used for planes and cars “need to be made to a particular spec,” with highly-specialized components needing exact kinds of metals. If those can’t be sourced, the parts can’t be made — and even a missing nut or bolt has the potential to lead to entire factories having to down tools.
⚖ Pass me the shoehorn: Influence’s time with the pair is almost up, so we do what everyone in Westminster does and try to shoehorn in Leveling Up somehow. Luckily, Davidge is all over it.
She says the government’s big domestic push to boost neglected regions is backed in principle by manufacturers but warns Leveling Up risks becoming “a buzzword that they can’t quantify.” Her members are already ticking a lot of the government’s boxes, creating “highly-skilled and highly paid jobs,” investing in research and development and exporting — all while being based in the very regions ministers say they want to boost.
Talk of big “shovel-ready” projects is all well and good — but manufacturers’ needs are often much more prosaic and Whitehall has to keep an ear to the ground.
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