CBI aims to drive UK manufacturing to fresh highs as it sets up new council with Ineos director at the helm

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The new manufacturing council will encompass small, medium and large firm representatives (Source: Getty)

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is setting up a manufacturing council in an effort to support the industry.

The chief executive-level council will bring together dozens of the UK's top manufacturers, and will be headed by chemical giant Ineos' group director Tom Crotty.

Crotty said: "A vibrant manufacturing sector is essential to the growth of the UK economy. It provides high quality, skilled jobs, boosts the country’s trade position and allows the UK to compete in a challenging and changing world."

As well as aiming to shape the skills agenda to develop a UK workforce capable of adapting to artificial intelligence and digitisation, the CBI said the new group will focus on helping deliver a Brexit that works for the UK's manufacturing base, and build a new industrial strategy that supports productivity.

Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI's deputy director-general, said:

Our surveys show that UK manufacturers are on the march, with production and orders growing strongly, but with the challenges posed by Brexit, everything possible must be done to ensure they can stay ahead of the game.

It is a time to build the confidence to invest and export, creating new high quality jobs across the country.

Read more: UK manufacturing fell in June, dragging industrial production lower

Official figures from earlier this month suggested the UK's industrial production had weakened, edging down 0.4 per cent in the three months to June, largely due to a 0.6 dip in manufacturing.

As manufacturing currently makes up around 10 per cent of the UK economy, and accounts for over two-thirds of UK spend on research and development, the CBI said it was vital its voice is heard to help guide the UK's future economic performance. 

Read more: Wetherspoon's boss blasts the FCA and tells the CBI to "put a sock in it"