SMMT President drives home R&D investment message

22 November 2011 #SMMT News
  • President’s speech calls on government to build the UK’s global competitiveness.
  • Focus on increased R&D investment, skills development and reforms to tax credits.
  • Industry recognised as performing well despite economic uncertainty.

“Support for manufacturing will drive economic growth,” was the message voiced by Nigel Stein, President of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, at the organisation’s Annual Dinner attended by over 850 senior industry figures, politicians and stakeholders.

“There is a continued shift in government attitude towards manufacturing. Policy makers are increasingly recognising the economic importance of a strong manufacturing base and are working with us to make sure the UK can successfully compete globally,” said Nigel Stein, but he went on to call for action in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 29 November. “We have shown how an export-led industry such as our own can drive economic growth but we must have the right environment in which to prosper,” he said.

Concentrating on reforming R&D tax credits, the address acknowledged the need for the country to be more competitive internationally, attracting global investment that secures the future of UK automotive and drives economic growth. He also called for changes to capital allowances to enable the development of SMEs and the automotive supply chain in order to retain the largest possible share of investment value.

Stein drew attention to the success of the ‘See Inside Manufacturing’ initiative that saw thousands of students enthused about the automotive industry through engineering, R&D, product design and development. Building on this momentum, industry leaders heard of the need to up-skill the existing workforce and to concentrate on advanced apprenticeships.

The address acknowledged the good health of the automotive industry despite economic uncertainties, saying its future – particularly in the UK – was bright. Looking ahead to 2012, those gathered heard of SMMT’s focus for 2012 – fostering more positive relationships with the investment and finance community, developing the UK supply chain and progressing the low and ultra-low carbon technology sector.

The sustainability of the industry also benefitted from a moment in the spotlight with the launch of the SMMT’s 12th Sustainability Report that showed improvements in production, turnover and R&D investment. The report outlined that per vehicle produced there was less energy use, lower CO2 output, a decrease in waste to landfill and a rise in the number of jobs both in, and dependent on, the industry.

Follow the link for the full transcript of Nigel Stein’s speech.


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