Chris McDonaldThe Materials Processing Institute has written a report on the opportunities open to UK industry in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and how to realise them.

The report acknowledges that the Institute had not anticipated the result of the referendum on the 23 June but goes on to highlight the opportunities to build on UK industry. It specifically details the potential for further development of existing strengths in product design, engineering, materials and manufacturing. In order to achieve this, the report calls on the Government to create a suite of innovation policies, which include materials and foundation industries, areas it says have been neglected by UK policymakers.

Chris McDonald, Chief Executive of the Materials Processing Institute and Innovation Lead on the UK Metals Council, commented in the report: “In leaving the European Union, the United Kingdom will face many challenges but it also opens up opportunities as we move to an international trade-based economy.”

In order to realise the opportunities opening to the UK, the report stresses the need for a new industrial strategy, which puts innovation at its core – highlighting the need for long term planning on the availability of essential raw materials. It also draws attention to the benefits a Materials Catapult would bring across the whole of the UK.

The Institute is working constructively with government on the Materials Catapult proposal and has the support of local MPs and wide ranging cross-party support in parliament, including Stockton South MP and outgoing Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, James Wharton, who has emphasised his commitment to the proposal and we are seeking opportunities for early briefings with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clarke, and the new Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Andrew Percy.

Chris Continued: “To broaden the horizons of UK trade, we need, in the first instance, to bridge the gaps left in our industrial strategy by departure from the EU. We then need to redouble our efforts to prioritise innovation, putting the UK at the vanguard of manufacturing ingenuity.

“The Institute has been working closely with government in recent years to further industry’s request for a Materials Catapult. The Institute will renew its approach with incoming ministers and continue to campaign in the interests of UK industry.”

The Teesside-based Materials Processing Institute is a not-for-profit company, which works with industrial innovators to conduct research to enhance materials and industrial processes. It also continues to make specialist steel at the Normanton Plant at its facility on Teesside.

Chris concluded: “Now is the time to take stock of the future direction of UK trade-led industrial growth, and ensure that manufacturing has the capability to surge ahead on the world stage by giving the materials and foundation industries the turbocharge of innovation they need.”

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