The Decline of U.K Manufacturing
20th July 2022
Manufacturing Has Not Been An Overnight Nightmare.
It’s a result of decades of political uncertainty, stretching as far back as Thatcher, the world moving onto fully automatic factories or even other countries doing the same thing for much cheaper. What’s shocking is that 93,000 jobs have been lost in the sector since the Conservative Government has been in power. This has negatively impacted U.K. manufacturing. Low investments have hurt the industry along with cuts to skills & budgets. The lack of money and a reduction of skills has meant the industry has been floundering for a while. Therefore begs the question: how will it ever recover?
The Government Gets it Wrong.
U.K. manufacturing fell by more than 0.4 per cent per year over the last 55 years, twice that of Italy and Spain. Whilst other countries have been thriving; the U.K. has steadily fallen behind. There have been several reasons why this has been the case. One of these reasons is that politicians believed it was vital to pump more money into other sectors, primarily financial.
This has not worked in their favour as these sectors have faced hurdle after hurdle and allowed U.K. manufacturing to fall aside. Therefore, there has been a fall in jobs and transferable skills. The most evident effect of this was in the wave of a Thatcherite government, there was a faith that new industries would emerge to fill the gaps, but this did not happen as a result of many contributing factors such as profound changes in leadership, recessions, ever-changing political climates, e.g. Brexit.
The Government has forgotten about the U.K. manufacturing sector. This has hit many areas of the country harder than others. In industry-heavy parts of the U.K., such as Northern Ireland and the Midlands, company after company has fallen to despair. This means those once who had jobs have moved into other, usually underpaid, positions and have taken those skills with them.
Despite this, there is some hope. Kier Stammer, Labour’s leader, has vowed to take what the U.K. lost and revive it with a new lease of life. Pooer areas of the country would be thankful for this as their areas would be boosted and jobs would be created.
The Rise of Inequal Jobs.
High-valued jobs have had too much focus in recent years meaning lower-paid ones are missing out on funding and skills. This is especially the case in sectors such as accounting and law, thus leading to a widening gap for low-paid jobs in industries such as hospitality and leisure.
There is also a significant inequality of wealth within the U.K. as well. This means the poorer are getting poorer whilst the rich only get richer. The decline of manufacturing in the U.K. has meant that people are opting for lower-paid jobs, therefore, skills are being lost, that once would have been pumped into the industry. The decreasing lack of disposable income in the U.K. means that people can no longer afford to invest in their education either meaning skills and trade are being lost.
There may be some light at the end of the tunnel as Reed announced that there had been a 24% increase in jobs within the U.K. manufacturing sector since last year. This means that things are hopefully looking up following the drought of recent decades. An increase in jobs & skills and a levelling out of pay would definitely benefit the sector and the landscape would change.
How Can We Help This Decline?
After a rapid decline in U.K. manufacturing over the last 30 years, the country will struggle to reindustrialise quickly. The way forward is to focus on new manufacturing sectors and ensure those sectors deliver high-quality, high-paying jobs. One of the main approaches the country can take is to focus on green and renewable energy. In the last two years, the U.K.’s usage of green energy has gone from strength to strength. In 2020, 20% of the energy we used in the U.K. was renewable, which shot up to 42.8% in the last year alone. Therefore, the demand is there and is an excellent sector for U.K. manufacturing to set its sights on to replenish the reputation we once held.
Here at SMP, we have been at the heart of the U.K. manufacturing industry for the last 45 years and despite what the rest of the sector has faced, we have only gone from strength to strength. With our manufacturing plant based in Telford, we have innovated the way forward for safe manufacturing not only here in the U.K. but for all over the world. We are proud to use U.K.-produced materials to ensure that we provide our customers with homemade goods of the highest quality. Not only that, but we also are proud to be members of Made in Britain.
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