New report to reveal scale and impact of high value manufacturing in the South West

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The Great South West has announced a major new research project into the region’s high value manufacturing sector.

The Great South West has been working closely with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the UK’s research & development and innovation agency for the manufacturing sector, and over 60 organisations from across the region to develop a coherent picture of the sector and its growth potential.

Manufacturing has been identified by the Great South West as a key sector to help grow the economy by up to £45 billion and 190,000 jobs by 2035. It underpins the region’s priority areas including energy, defence, marine, aerospace, electronics, and the food and drink sector.

The Great South West’s strengths in these sectors will be crucial to the UK’s future growth and security, with the region’s world-class assets in defence, energy, and food and drink especially important to building a resilient economy.

Building on this work, the Great South West Partnership Board approved investment at its November meeting into the next stage of research and collaboration with business, universities, and stakeholders. 

The report will deliver an evidence-based review of the scale of high value manufacturing across the region, including its economic impact, levels of exports, scale of investment in R&D, and which sectors are forecast to see the most growth. It will provide a platform for discussion with Government and business to attract investment and grow the world-leading industries located in the Great South West.

High value manufacturing jobs are well-paid and highly skilled, bringing vital economic contributions to the local workforce and regional economy. The sector also drives new innovation and cutting-edge technologies and innovations, ensuring the Great South West is a leading location for manufacturing globally. Across the UK, the sector generates 10% of total GVA, 44% of UK exports and accounts for three quarters of business R&D investment.

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Great South West Partnership, said: "High value manufacturing is one of the backbones of our region, showcasing our innovation, investment, and competitive edge in the global market. This report will be vital to understanding the scale of high value manufacturing in the Great South West, as well as the future growth of the sector.”

The report will deliver an evidence-based review of the scale of high value manufacturing across the region, including its economic impact, levels of exports, scale of investment in R&D, and which sectors are forecast to see the most growth.

Katherine Bennett CBE, High Value Manufacturing Catapult CEO, said: “High value manufacturing has the potential to drive sustainable growth across the Great South West. The insights provided in this report will be key to understanding how to accelerate the commercialisation of concepts to reality, strengthening the UK’s manufacturing base and unlocking opportunities for new, high-value jobs and prosperous communities. HVM Catapult looks forward to working with partners across the area to make this happen.”

The Great South West has appointed Hardisty Jones to carry out the report, which will be presented to the Great South West Board at its February 2024 meeting.

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