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2024 set to be a transformational year for UK manufacturing

01 March 2024

As part of its mission to promote UK manufacturing growth, the MTA will use its flagship MACH 2024 exhibition to launch its new Knowledge Hubs initiative, which highlights the benefits of new technologies such as AI, Big Data, robotics and automation, explains James Selka

IT'S BEEN a busy few months for UK manufacturing – and The Manufacturing Technologies Association – but with the spadework now completed we have greenlit strategies for what promises to be a busy - and important - 2024 for the industry.

The shot-in-the-arm to the industry from the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will transform the climate for UK manufacturers and hopefully spearhead the new growth initiatives which will be so important to the future of the industry.

We were doubly pleased because many of the measures announced by Jeremy Hunt align with our own objectives, especially those announced as key themes for the MACH 2024 exhibition, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham next April.

Promoting UK manufacturing growth

The MTA has made it its mission to spearhead growth in UK manufacturing and we will use the flagship exhibition to launch our new Knowledge Hubs initiative. This is a programme focusing on the benefits new technologies such as AI, Big Data, robotics and automation can deliver for manufacturers.

We will also outline to visitors how easy it is to adopt such technology, much of which can be retrofitted to existing machines, and how to implement the systems to best effect. Visitors to MACH will also be able to view the latest technology live and in action, helping to inform their investment decisions.

These technologies are truly transformational and offer the best hope to stimulate manufacturing growth across the next decade. We were therefore delighted the Chancellor has heeded what we and other manufacturing bodies have been saying about the need to invest in these technologies for the benefits they offer. 

We now need the manufacturing community to get behind these proposals and invest in the machines and technology that can fulfil the UK’s potential as a key manufacturer on the global stage.

The MTA was one of the signatories of an open letter to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement in which 200 leading manufacturers and industry associations urged the Chancellor to make Full Expensing a permanent feature of the UK tax system.

We agree with him that if the UK is to raise its productivity levels so it can compete on the global stage, then business investment needs to grow. To this end, his decision to make the Full Expensing scheme permanent is a step in the right direction and will hopefully serve as the incentive the industry needs to transform itself.

The Full Expensing scheme

The scheme, which incentivises growth by ensuring so that for every million pounds a company invests, it gets £250,000 off its tax bill for the year the investment is made, is a very attractive one for manufacturers as they are among the biggest investors in new equipment. 

The Chancellor said his aim was to provide surety for manufacturers by offering a long-term strategy for the industry. This is welcome news for the advanced manufacturing and green energy sectors, which are constantly looking to attract support from investors, especially those overseas.

The £4.5bn package of measures which were announced will hopefully leverage further investment in decarbonising key sectors such as automotive, aerospace, life sciences and green energy.

This kind of investment will ensure the UK remains competitive in the sectors which will increasingly shape the future of UK manufacturing. The commitment to support disruptive technologies is vital as we look to make the UK a place where manufacturers can invest and grow for the future.

James Selka is CEO of The Manufacturing Technologies Association

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