New industrial revolution ‘to be digital and UK-led’ | City & Business | FinanceHeat Profit
A review by a group representing some of the country’s leading companies highlighted the benefits of robotics, 3D printing, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
It called for a new commission to be established to drive digital technology and the skills needed for jobs of the future.
Manufacturing could be boosted by £455billion over 10 years and the sector could grow by up to 3 per cent a year, said the report.
Professor Juergen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK and Ireland, who chaired the group, said: “The business and academic community has set out a vision for much greater ambition needed for Britain to be a world leader in the fourth industrial revolution.
“Industry is committed to working in partnership with government, and this combined package of measures will boost UK growth and productivity in manufacturing and provide more exports and increased earning potential, which our economy desperately needs.
“Our proposals will help business understand, deploy and create the latest digital technologies, helping to secure more homegrown research and development and the creation of new industries and highly skilled, well-paid jobs.”
Business Secretary Greg Clark agreed: “The UK manufacturing sector has the potential to be a global leader in the industrial digital technology revolution.”
Mr Clark added: “Government and industry must work together to seize the opportunities that exist in this sector and promote the benefits of adopting emerging digital technologies, as well as cutting edge business models.”
CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn said: “The business community has pulled together to shape these recommendations that will speed up technology adoption and bring new energy to the manufacturing sector.
“The UK must compete with China, the US and much of Europe where there are already advanced plans to embrace the fourth industrial revolution.”
Last week, a study by the CBI revealed that the number of manufacturing firms limiting Investment plans because of a shortage of workers was at its highest for four years.
It found orders and output had softened in the sector in the past three months.
Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist, said: “To boost Investment growth, Government should use the Budget to provide a fillip for factories through business rate reforms, including exempting new plant and machinery from rates altogether, and switching to the more recognised CPI inflation measure rather than RPI when calculating up-ratings.”