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MANUFACTURING must be at the heart of any strategy to recover and rebuild our economy as we emerge from the lockdown, an expert panel organised by Unite urged today.
Speakers called for urgent action from the government to set out a clear plan and industrial strategy to build a greener environment and resilient supply chain as Britain repositions its economy to address the challenges ahead.
Make UK chief executive Stephen Phipson said that manufacturing should be recognised as a crucial sector in Britain and said rebuilding after coronavirus was an opportunity to digitalise the industry and build a green economy.
Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said it was important to recognise that manufacturing is closely related to the reopening of other sectors such as production and called for a new approach towards the industry.
She warned that without the right support, the country could see huge job losses.
Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright said that one positive of the pandemic was how the food industries came together with the trade union movement to co-operate, and called for building on the collaboration.
Science and technology select committee chairman Greg Clark said one theme that emerged from the crisis was the need for better anticipation of what action will be needed to be taken in the future.
The Tory MP said that the need for this was seen in the handling of the pandemic and the government’s response.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “What needs to be done to build back better after Covid is an industrial strategy that works.
“We’ve put forward proposals for a national council of recovery that have fallen on death ears. We need our manufacturing sectors to be at the core of that [recovery plan].”
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