Backing Britain: Made in Yorkshire and the Made in the Midlands members join forces at parliamentary reception calling on ministers to prioritise British manufacturing
As part of their ongoing activities in support of British manufacturing, Made in Group organised a parliamentary reception at the historic Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 6th December 2023. The ‘Backing Britain’ lobbying event, which saw the participation of over 80 businesses, called on ministers and MPs to strengthen the country's manufacturing capacity and address key concerns related to the ownership of British businesses. The need for the appointment a dedicated minister for manufacturing was also at the cornerstone of a set of coordinated calls to action from members of Made in Group, the peer-to-peer membership association set up to promote UK industry, which includes Made in Yorkshire and Made in the Midlands.
Strengthening and safeguarding Britain’s manufacturing capacity
The meeting was addressed by Lord Whitby, chairman of Made in Group and advocate for British manufacturing, a prominent and well-regarded figure in the House of Lords. Lord Whitby emphasised the importance of supporting homegrown industries and ensuring their long-term sustainability. He called upon the government to take immediate action to strengthen and safeguard Britain's manufacturing capacity, which has faced numerous challenges in recent years: “Manufacturing plays a vital role in the economic fortitude of this country and it is imperative that we convey that message to whoever is in government.”
Lord Whitby also challenged the prevailing notion that the UK economy is predominantly service-driven and emphasised the importance of recognising the true contribution of the manufacturing sector. Whilst industry’s direct GDP and employment contribution are widely recognised, he noted that the full extent of manufacturing’s influence on the UK economy is often overlooked.
Driving future national security and resilience
Jason Pitt, Made in Group’s CEO, took to the stage next, highlighting the organisation's commitment to promoting British manufacturing and supporting its members, as well as emphasising the need for a dedicated minister for manufacturing to provide strategic guidance and support to the sector. He argued that such a position would ensure manufacturers’ concerns and interests are given due attention within the government and echoed the sentiment from an open letter signed by Made in Group members that: “A robust manufacturing sector not only strengthens economic prosperity and helps address our national debt but is also a critical driver of future national security and resilience.” He also emphasised Britain’s position as the eighth-largest industrial nation globally.
Made in Group member impact in numbers
Ilona Pitt, director of Made in Group, followed, highlighting the steps taken by Made in Group over the past year to shine a light on the fascinating stories and capabilities of members from Yorkshire and the Midlands, amongst other things through the establishment of a video podcast called ‘Our Finest Hour’. Each podcast episode features a different personality, sharing their wisdom, and lessons learned in business and life. Across 2023 Made in Group has delivered 14 face-to-face events, and 15 online events, delivered to more than 1100 delegates. More than 50 industry discussion groups were held and there were more than one million unique visits to the Made Platform, helping to make Made in Group the fastest-growing manufacturing membership group.
The event also featured Mark Sloper, an artist world-renowned for his work celebrating British manufacturing and craftsmanship, created the artwork for ‘Our Finest Hour’. Sloper shared his experiences as an international ambassador for the creative industries, and emphasised the role of art and creativity in promoting British manufacturing, encouraging collaboration between artists and manufacturers to foster innovation and growth. “This country is fantastic. We have the most talented people in the creative industries and you have the best people in manufacturing.”
The Rt Hon Lee Anderson MP, Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party, concluded the event with his remarks. Anderson acknowledged the concerns raised by the Made in Group members and assured attendees that their voices would be heard. He pledged to work closely with his colleagues in the government to address the issues discussed during the meeting. Anderson expressed optimism that the government would take the necessary steps to support British manufacturing and create an environment conducive to its growth.
Also in attendance were John Redwood MP and Gary Sambrook MP. Each MP in Parliament received a copy of the open letter from Made in Yorkshire and Made in the Midlands members.
A powerful and persuasive platform
The meeting at the Houses of Parliament served as a powerful and persuasive platform for businesses to voice their concerns and engage in meaningful dialogue with government representatives. It was also hailed as a huge success in allowing members from across Yorkshire and the Midlands to network and discuss new collaborations.
Made in Group, through its lobbying efforts, aims to ensure that British manufacturing remains at the forefront of the country's economic agenda. By advocating for policies that support and promote the sector, the organisation seeks to create a favourable environment for businesses to thrive and contribute to the nation's prosperity. The parliamentary lobbying group meeting served as a significant step in this direction, bringing together key stakeholders to collectively address the challenges faced by British manufacturing.
Upon the conclusion of the Parliamentary reception, members split off into smaller networking groups and continued discussions in nearby hospitality venues around Westminster and the surrounding areas.
The day concluded with an exclusive member gathering and Christmas celebration at The Groucho Club, the world-renowned Soho-based private members club, created in the 1980s by a group of mostly female publishers as an antidote to London’s stuffy gentlemen’s clubs.