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A strong and competitive manufacturing sector is vital to the prosperity and well being of the UK.

General Election 2005
for further information contact
John Letizia
Special Adviser, Political & Regional Affairs
related links

Conservative Party Manifesto

Labour Party Manifesto

Liberal Democrat Manifesto

Manufacturing in this country remains a success story. It employs 3.5 million highly skilled people; accounts for the majority of the UK’s research and development spending and just under 60 per cent of UK exports; and is a world leader in many sectors such as aerospace and pharmaceuticals.

The Challenge Ahead

However, manufacturing is subject to massive change on a global scale. New technology, growing environmental and legislative demands and competition from increasingly skilled, low cost competitors are major forces of change. To be successful, manufacturers will have to remain constantly innovative and pursue excellence in their chosen field. To stay in business, they will have to invest continually in technology and in their people and be prepared to challenge conventional thinking in everything from their working practices to how and where they manufacture.

Meeting the Challenge

The prime responsibility for improving performance will always lie with companies themselves. But there is a vital role for wider government in making sure the environment in which manufacturers operate is competitive and remains flexible and dynamic. Moreover, a strong and effective government Department is essential to champion the interests of business across government and overseas.

In these pages we highlight the key priorities that we believe the next Government must address to ensure manufacturing companies are in the best possible position to exploit the opportunities available for the benefit of UK plc. We urge all Parties to make explicit their support for manufacturing and the role it has to play in the future prosperity of the UK.

Ten Priorities for the Next Government

EEF believes that the next Government must: 

  1. Maintain a stable economic environment promoting manufacturing competitiveness 

    > economic stability
  2. Support manufacturing investment by ensuring a competitive UK tax regime and by introducing a Capital Investment Tax Credit

    > business taxation
    > tackling structural underinvestment
  3. Improve the UK’s innovation performance by promoting greater investment in Research and Development, building business/academic links and more intelligent government procurement

    > innovation
    > defence
  4. Drive forward a coherent energy strategy which balances the need to address Climate Change with the need to maintain UK business competitiveness

    > energy and the environment
  5. Provide strong and effective business support at regional, national and international levels

    > exports
    > regional development
  6. Reduce the regulatory burden on business and put better regulation at the heart of policy development in the UK and in Europe

    > better regulation
    > flexible labour markets
  7. Increase the supply of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills and ensure young people have quality access to all career options

    > education and skills
  8. Deliver a sustainable solution on pensions, avoiding measures that add burdens to occupational pension schemes

    > pensions
  9. Develop an occupational health and safety strategy focused on rehabilitation, based on sound science, and which rewards performance

    > occupational health and safety
  10. Take forward a pro-business agenda in Europe

    > europe

This manifesto is published on behalf of:

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation

British Plastics Federation

Chemical Industries Association

Construction Products Association

Manufacturing Technologies Association

Society of British Aerospace Companies

With support from:

Agricultural Engineers Association

British Chemical Engineering Contractors Association

British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers' Association

Construction Equipment Association

Finance and Leasing Association


International Marine Contractors Association


National Association of Steel Stockholders

Railway Industry Association

Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers Association

Society of Maritime Industries 

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