Industry experts urge government for change in UK electronics sector

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Industry experts urge government for change in UK electronics sector

A series of open letters written by industry experts urge the new Government to make changes which would benefit the UK electronics sector.

The letters, which were published in full on the Electronics Weekly website, highlight the significance of the electronics sector to the UK economy and suggest some changes which could help promote industry growth.

We’ve analysed the three letters and distilled out some key messages which David Cameron and his team should consider.

Continue and extend the support for electronics – Open letter to the PM from Peter Brooks, CEO of the Electronics Systems Community (ESCO)

Peter Brooks and ESCO have worked tirelessly to promote the interests of electronics companies. Addressing the new Prime Minister, Mr Brooks explains the importance of electronic systems to the UK economy.

He writes “The UK sector comprises over 45,000 businesses, employs over one million people and adds nearly £100bn to GDP.”

He outlines several key opportunities which politicians could help the sector exploit and highlights a number of other ways in which the Government could help facilitate change. On behalf of the electronics systems community, he thanks the Government for investing £40M in the fast growing ‘internet of things’ sector and calls for similar support to continue.

Mr Brooks also highlights Europe as another opportunity for UK electronics. He recommends that the government makes it easier to access later stage EU funding which helps companies to turn research ideas into products as well as jobs and growth.

Finally, ESCO call for the government to reconsider certain commercial and regulatory barriers to generating energy efficiencies. They predict that if administrative burdens are reduced then the UK could be saving the equivalent of the output from 22 new power stations by 2020.

Stem the tide of our worsening tech skills gap – Open letter to the PM from Wendy Devolder, CEO of Skills Matter

Wendy Devolder of Skills Matter is primarily concerned with the pressing skills shortage in the technology industry. The letter makes reference to research from The Business Growth Fund and Barclays which reports that 27% of all London job growth is generated by technology and digital firms.

The letter highlights a pressing skills shortage and is damaging the industry: “80% of data-intensive businesses still struggle to find the skills they need.”

Devolder is critical of immigration policies and visa restrictions which she argues are harming the technology sector by making it more difficult to attract the best talent.

Technology firms need to attract the brightest sparks to help them design, develop and grow great products and services. If London and the UK is to retain their status as a hotspot for technological innovation then the new Government should take steps to address this skills shortage.

At Hi5 we are also concerned about the impact of a high-tech skills shortage and we believe we should be doing more to teach our children the skills of tomorrow. Recently we collated some of the best games and tools for teaching children valuable skills for the future.

Don’t ignore manufacturing, it matters – Open letter to the PM from Adam Fletcher, chairman of the Electronic Components Supply Network (ECSN)

Adam Fletcher of ECSN urges the new Government to make the interests of manufacturing a top priority. He talks about the urgency of rebalancing our economy towards manufacturing as well as the need to address important skills gaps and tax issues.

Fletcher writes, “As we entered the new millennium it was obvious that the UK economy had become destabilised – the manufacturing sector has been allowed to decline in favour of the service sector, which could not generate the added value or wealth creation needed to sustain growth and full employment.”

Politicians should recognise the role that manufacturing, and especially high-tech manufacturing, plays in this country. ECSN urges the government to make a long-term commitment to build a strong manufacturing foundation in the economy helping ensure the sectors recovery and growth.

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