Manufacturers in the North East call on politicians to re-balance the economy

EEF makes pre-election call, saying the recovery has not reached all sectors of the economy

Liz Mayes, new regional head of North East EEF
Liz Mayes, new regional head of North East EEF

Manufacturing group EEF has launched a pre-election strike on the main political parties, calling for politics that will “rebalance” the economy.

The lobby group has pointed to results from a poll that it says show public support for its calls, with more than six in 10 people wanting a better-balanced economy where growth is sustainable and the economy is growing across different sectors.

The poll also suggested that substantial majorities want to see Britain making more (59%), exporting more (64%) and competing more effectively with other countries.

With the time to the next General Election approaching the six-month mark, the main political parties are expected to move their focus to that poll once the results - and the implications - of the Scottish Independence referendum have been decided.

And though there are growing signs of an economic recovery, there are concerns too certain sectors of the economy have not benefited as much as others.

Liz Mayes, North East region director at EEF, said: “The message to parties and political leaders is loud and clear: a strong, rebalanced economy has to be the long-term end goal and at the heart of your election offering. Industry and voters are singing from the same hymn sheet.

“We want a robust, stable and resilient economy with a clear focus on balanced growth and this is a message party leaders must not fail to take into the election and beyond.

“A stronger manufacturing base is a vital component – and while it is not a ‘cure all’ for every economic ill, British industry does have a fundamental role to play in building a better-balanced and more robust economy. Government can and should focus policies on delivering this aim.

“There is no room for complacency. While the UK is on the right path, we still have a long way to go. We cannot afford to lose focus. Net trade is still weak, investment is still below pre-recession levels and, while manufacturing has gained ground, more can be done to create the right conditions for manufacturers and wider industry to thrive and grow. Better-balanced growth must still be our 2020 destination and we are looking for all parties to commit to this ahead of the next election.”

The YouGov poll commissioned by EEF found that consumers want long-term plans for protecting and building upon the economic recovery to be centre stage during next year’s election campaign.

Almost eight in 10 say this is important, though almost seven in 10 (68%) say that if current economic and business policies are working well they should be left alone.

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