Manufacturing leaders in the Midlands have called on the next Government to act differently to re-build and re-balance the economy and ensure the UK pays its way in world.

The EEF publishes its Manufacturing Manifesto – Back at the Crossroads today, at the end of Manufacturing Week, and said the next Government needs a clear and credible strategy for growth, as the decisions it makes in the first 100 days will have lasting implications for the UK’s prosperity.

The group said its manifesto provides such a bold, proactive strategy to grow markets and stimulate investment in innovation and skills, to repair the public finances and minimise the pain of decarbonising the economy.

Martin Wassell, Midlands region director for EEF, said: “At the start of the last decade, EEF warned that the UK’s economy was at a crossroads: either we grew our manufacturing base or our economy would suffer. After a painful and prolonged recession, the UK is back at that crossroads.

“We need to look again at what sort of economy we want in the future and how we get there. Yet, the current economic and political debate is stale, glossing over complex yet pressing practicalities of how to rebuild and rebalance our economy, how to repair the public finances and how to create jobs and boost investment.

“And more people are beginning to realise the scale of the challenge, the value of manufacturing and the need for a strategic approach. But the current debate is rooted in dated images of industry that simply do not recognise why modern manufacturing remains successful and fail to grasp what it needs to thrive in UK.

“By putting manufacturing at the heart of healthy economy, our manifesto is a clear, practical strategy for building a more prosperous Britain.”

The group’s manifesto calls for greater consistency at all levels of government, a reduction in the cost of government by addressing public sector pay and pensions and for the individual opt-out from the Working Time Directive to be retained.

It also wants a competitive, predictable tax system to reflect the true cost of modern machinery a focus on mathematics, science, ICT and design to improve skills and a balanced approach to energy supply and storage.