Growth engine running but clearer direction needed, says EEF

eefscuoler300A new assessment of the progress of Britain’s industrial strategy from the manufacturer’s organisation EEF suggests that “the outlook for growth has improved but there is still a long way to go”.

The analysis shows the UK to be 159th in the world for business investment as a share of the economy, with such investment 25% below its pre-recession peak, contributing just 0.06% of annual growth. Other countries were making faster progress towards more balanced economy and, despite the UK’s favourable exchange rate, net trade was lower than in France, Italy and Spain.

EEF warns that, although the government has taken a number of positive steps to encourage investment in new equipment and research and development and to support exporters, there is only limited progress in creating a more balanced growth. In particular the analysis shows that there has been little improvement in the contribution of investment or net trade to growth in the UK. Despite a favourable exchange rate, exports in the UK have made less of a contribution to growth than in France, Italy or Spain and business investment has made a stronger contribution in the United States, Canada and France.

EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler (pictured) said: “We’re seeing more signs that the growth engine is up and running but we still need clarity of where we are driving. Industry is feeling more confident and is in better shape to deliver the investment and exports we need for a stronger economy and the government has taken steps to help it deliver this.

“There are, however, still a number of risks of the economy being knocked off course.  What we need now is absolutely clarity on where we are seeking to get to and, all of government pulling in the same direction to get us there.”

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.


About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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