Regional Revolution, Reigniting Manufacturing: The role of Midlands Manufacturing in Levelling Up the UK.

Regional Revolution, Reigniting Manufacturing: The role of Midlands Manufacturing in Levelling Up the UK.

Tuesday 30th November| 10:00 - 12:30 |

The Centre for Social Justice is committed to finding bold yet workable policy solutions to redress the scale of inter-regional inequality within the UK, and to restore higher-quality jobs to regions that are economically underperforming. 

The productivity gap is the key driver of UK regional inequality: of all the UK’s regions, only London and the South East have higher Gross Value Added (GVA) per capita than the national average, and most regions have consistently fallen further below UK average over successive years, with disparities becoming more intense over time. 

If incomes and living standards throughout the rest of the UK are to improve relative to the wider economy, the productivity gap must be tackled. There is very good evidence to suggest that the decline of manufacturing as a proportion of the overall economy in the East and West Midlands, North East and North West has served as a root cause of stagnating productivity – manufacturing now represents just 9% of GDP, compared to 30% in the 1970s.  

It is in manufacturing rather than low-skill services that meaningful productivity increases are possible, leading in turn to higher wages and stronger household incomes. Within economically underperforming regions, the sub-regions with higher productivity tend to be areas with buoyant manufacturing. Manufacturing is therefore key to boosting regional growth rates. As such, revolutionising manufacturing in the Midlands, North East and South East will be fundamental to improving productivity, increasing living standards and rebalancing the UK economy. 

The CSJ is hosting a major thought leadership and fact-finding conference alongside Midlands Engine, East Midlands Chamber and MakeUK, focusing on the role of manufacturing in rebalancing the UK economy. In addition to a series of short presentations, delegates representing UK manufacturers will have the opportunity via a group of roundtables to feed back to the CSJ’s policy research team on the challenges facing UK manufacturing and the policy interventions they would like to see to boost the sector as the country seeks to level up.


Sir John Peace, Chairman

Midlands Engine

Neil O’Brien MP

Minister for Levelling Up, The Union and Constitution

Rachael Greenwood

Executive Director, Midlands Engine

Charlotte Horobin

Region Director – Midlands & East of England, Make UK

Chris Hobson

Director of Policy and External Affairs, East Midlands Chamber

Gavin Rice

Policy Director & Manufacturing Lead, Centre for Social Justice

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