I wonder what 2017 has in store for us post-Brexit? An American-style, deregulated economy, or an economy that is based on highly-skilled jobs, high productivity, and high levels of investment?
As the Government prepares to negotiate Brexit, levels of uncertainty are bound to increase unless a clear vision is outlined.
It is not enough to defend the status quo, a vision for a post-Brexit UK must reverse decades of deindustrialisation.
This must include direct investments, such as strategic use of the £200billion public sector procurement budget. Investment and incentives for the training of skilled apprenticeships would not only benefit existing manufacturers and the supply chain, it would remove a vital barrier to re-shoring .
The Government must also retain the right to directly intervene in the defence of strategic industries.
Officials could begin by reviving the positive industrial policies scrapped by the previous Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, in 2015.
The Business Growth Service, which includes the Manufacturing Advisory Service and Growth Accelerator program, assisted more than 28,000 businesses.
The Government under Theresa May must mean what is says and develop a long-term strategy for manufacturing.
A red line must be drawn throughout the Brexit negotiations, with access to the single market made an absolute necessity.
A system of import or export tariffs could prove damaging to manufacturing, threatening UK jobs and resulting in the cost of living going through the roof.
On June 24, the world changed, bringing uncertainty and the realisation of a European exit without a plan.
The longer the uncertainty grows, the weaker our industries may become, but, with the right strategy in place, we could weather the storm to emerge stronger from it.
It’s vitally important that we defend manufacturing, jobs, investment and employment rights for the long-term protection of our work places in the UK.
Perhaps it’s time we had a minister for manufacturing.