Why we must champion manufacturing across the North - Alan Whittaker, Head of Operations

08th Jul 2024

Before the election, our new government talked a lot about the importance of an Industrial Strategy to boost the economy and productivity. Now that the election is over, it is time to focus on helping the North grow economically by creating Local Growth Plans, especially by boosting manufacturing to improve the economy, social mobility, and the environment.

Manufacturing is a powerhouse of economic activity. Every pound invested in manufacturing generates substantial economic benefits beyond the factory floor. It stimulates a vast network of suppliers, from raw materials to high-tech components, creating a ripple effect that puts money in people’s pockets to spend on local businesses and leisure activities.

Oxford Economics found that for every £1 million the manufacturing sector contributes to the UK’s GDP, an additional £1.5 million is supported across the wider economy through indirect and induced effects. High-quality manufacturing jobs offer competitive wages and benefits, directly boosting local economies and supporting employment in logistics, maintenance, and other services. Manufacturing employs 2.7 million people in the UK, making up 8% of the workforce.

Additionally, manufacturing drives innovation and research and development, leading to new products and technologies that further boost economic growth and global competitiveness, with the sector accounting for 65% of all UK R&D expenditure. It’s incredibly important to our economy.  passionately believe that it isn’t all about the numbers and that manufacturing has historically been a ladder for social mobility, offering stable, well-paying jobs that require a range of skills.

This is why at RTC we champion the development of STEM skills in young people. By focusing on strengthening manufacturing, regions across the North can bridge economic inequalities between the North and South and within regions, helping to revive communities and restore pride in place.

Manufacturing jobs can be accessible to local people, offering a wide variety of roles across the supply chain, supporting diverse communities, and fostering inclusive growth. With better wages and job stability, workers in manufacturing can enjoy an improved quality of life, contributing to overall societal well-being.

And we can’t forget the significance that decarbonising manufacturing will play on our journey to a net zero economy. By supporting green manufacturing initiatives and electrification, manufacturers can promote sustainable practices by adopting energy-efficient technologies and reducing carbon emissions, which have already decreased by 64% in the UK industry from 1990 to 2018. Investment in manufacturing can also spur the development of renewable energy technologies, electric vehicles, and other green innovations, helping meet the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

Additionally, the North of England can become a leader in sustainable manufacturing, setting standards and exporting green technologies worldwide. We are excited and ready to support our new government - showcasing how much the North has to offer, which is clear: we can drive economic growth, revitalise communities, promote social mobility, and support decarbonisation.

As we look to the future, we urge the government to place manufacturing at the heart of a collective economic strategy. Our message to The Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer is How can we help?




The true impact of UK Manufacturing | Oxford Economics

Industrial decarbonisation strategy (accessible webpage) - GOV.UK (

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