September 21, 2012

Confederation for British Industry and Tata group host first ever Industrial Future Dinner to realise the potential for UK growth

London: On September 17, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable was guest of honour at the very first Confederation for British Industry (CBI) Industrial Future Dinner held in association with Tata group in the City of London.

Senior figures from British business and industry gathered to hear a preview of a new report on UK industrial policy due to be published by the CBI in October. The report outlines the importance of industry to the future growth of the UK economy and presents clear recommendations on what industry would like to see in any national strategy from the UK government.

As one of the largest manufacturers in the UK with over 50,000 employees across over 40 towns and cities, Tata is committed to sustainable growth for British industry and senior executives from Tata companies across the country turned out in full force to support the evening.

Many of the biggest businesses in Britain were also present at the dinner including: BAE Systems, Babcock, BMW, Ford, GKN, GM, RWE npower, Rolls-Royce and Thales. They all heard from Dr Cable, Dr Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover, and John Cridland, director-general, CBI, who all lent their support to a national industrial strategy.

Mr Cridland gave the opening speech and said: "This dinner marks a recognition that we need to take seriously our approach to industrial policy. A joined-up strategy that works across business and gets all parts of government working in the same direction is vital to the future growth of the UK economy. We believe we can boost exports by at least £30bn a year by about 2020 if we get this right. If we target our attentions on some key sectors already going in the right direction and make real in-roads in high growth export markets, then we can secure our industrial future."

Dr Ralf Speth speaking at the CBI Industrial Future DinnerDr Speth responded saying that Jaguar Land Rover was a real British company committed to the UK and that the success of his company would go some way to handing over a better place to future generations.

Dr Speth added that the UK had great engineering and design talent. Wider discussions on industrial policy between government and British business formed the building blocks for making the British industrial vision a reality, he said.

Adding his comments to the evening, Jon Bolton, director of Tata Steel's Long Products hub and president of UK Steel, said: "Steelmaking forms a major part of the bedrock of British manufacturing as the starting point for a great number of this country's industrial supply chains. This is a high-tech, highly innovative industry with very long-term investment horizons, and we need a regulatory environment to match. To that end we need a more structured and purposeful relationship between government and manufacturing and we hope that's what the CBI's industry policy initiative will help bring about."

Having heard from the CBI and Jaguar Land Rover, Dr Cable said: "Government makes decisions every day that affect the British economy, but has for too long done this in an ad-hoc way. Government needs to be more like business, by making strategic plans and sticking to them.

"Our first part of that plan is lifting the barrier that poor access to finance puts on growth. By helping firms to invest capital, businesses expand, and create jobs.

"But I am also setting out a clear and ambitious vision, a commitment far beyond the usual political timescale that will continue to bear fruit decades later. It will give our businesses certainty, allow them to make their own plans, and know that the full weight of government is behind them. We will work in a strategic partnership with industry, focusing our support on specific sectors. This is our commitment to growth in action."