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Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 211332, tabled on 22 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the industrial strategy supports (a) manufacturers of agricultural machinery, (b) textiles and (c) small-scale engineering.

Answered on

30 January 2019

The Government’s Industrial Strategy supports manufacturing across many sectors in a number of ways through business support, skills and R&D.

Through Business Support:

  • The Government has undertaken a business productivity review and is currently looking at how to improve manufacturing processes with 3000 industries in the North West in the Pilot for Made Smarter. The learnings from this pilot, and the conclusions of the review will benefit industry in the future.
  • We are making sure small businesses across all sectors including agricultural machinery, textiles and engineering, can find the information they need on their finance options and additional support in information and guidance:
  • The British Business Bank publishes (in partnership with industry) the Business Finance Guide, which also has an interactive online version.
  • The Business Support Helpline and the network of 38 Growth Hubs also provide advice and signpost businesses to sources of information and guidance. We would encourage the industries to take advantage of this resource.
  • 78,000 SMEs have been supported in various way by the British Business Bank. The Small Business Commissioner helps with payment issues, dispute resolution and sourcing advice across the UK.

Through developing Skills:

  • The Government has developed a wide range of manufacturing apprenticeships. There are now specific apprenticeships for textile manufacturing, at both intermediate and advanced levels and a significant number of engineering apprenticeships across a range of sectors.
  • The Government has introduced the apprenticeship levy across the UK to encourage sustained employer investment in high quality apprenticeships. By 2020 the total annual apprenticeship investment in England will be almost £2.45bn (in 2019/20); double what was spent in 2010-11. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive £460m, as their fair share of the apprenticeship levy, in 2019/20. This will allow businesses to develop workforces that have the skills they need for the future.

Through supporting R&D:

  • The Government has increased the rate of R&D tax credit to 12% to encourage businesses to invest in the future and as a step towards meeting the 2.4% target. As we try to put the UK at the forefront of advanced sustainable agriculture, this tax credit will provide opportunities for both manufacturers of agricultural machinery and small-scale engineering firms to invest in innovation.

We are open to having discussions with all sectors of business and industry to discuss how we can support them and would welcome the engagement from manufacturers of agricultural machinery, textile industry and small-scale engineering firms.