It was great to address the Make UK conference last week. Since I was first elected nearly 14 years ago, I have championed British manufacturing. I am proud of all we make.

But these days, other countries stealing a march on us. Showing more ambition, better supported by their governments. A thriving manufacturing base would help the UK achieve growth, deliver net zero, create jobs, reduce the North/South economic gap, and improve national security.

Here in Tameside we are proud to host a significant manufacturing base, through companies like Stepan, the Hyde Group, Smurfit Kappa, and Pilgrim Food Masters. These are companies I visit regularly, who provide good local jobs and who have moved with the times to ensure their survival.

Some people lazily dismiss this sector as being of the past and not relevant to a modern economy. They’re wrong. I’m committed to a Labour government that puts the makers first and supports a manufacturing sector fit for the future. That isn’t just my view; it’s held throughout the Labour Party, from our affiliated unions – to the Leader of the Labour Party, whose own dad worked in a toolmaking factory.

We know what manufacturing does for our constituents, our communities, and our families. I am ambitious for it. I want to see the manufacturing sector to grow not shrink as a percentage of GDP.

So how do we deliver it? It starts with the number one thing businesses ask for, stability. Something which has been sorely lacking over the last few years. Too many changes of policy. No long-term consistency. And some moments – such as the Liz Truss mini-budget – intensely damaging and embarrassing.

We will put into law an Industrial Strategy Council to deliver the stability that is needed. We will save the British automotive industry, accelerating battery making capacity, creating 80,000 jobs, and getting shovels in the ground..

We will also address the skills shortages many manufacturers are worried about, by giving companies flexibility over how the apprenticeship levy is spent, and launching Skills England to ensure technical colleges are developing courses that meet the needs of the sector. And we will fix the trade frictions manufactures are experiencing, removing the practical barriers facing exporters.

The Government have offered us eleven different business secretaries in eleven years. That isn’t a sign they take areas like ours seriously. I’m then man with a plan committed to working with the manufacturing sector both on our doorstep and across the country until a flourishing future is secured.

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