Leeds prepares to showcase region’s manufacturing prowess

On Wednesday this week the Leeds City Region LEP will support the Manufactured Yorkshire conference in Leeds – a showcase of our region’s manufacturing strengths and the innovations that will propel growth in the next century.

Roger Marsh, the region’s Chairman, says the Leeds City Region’s strengths in financial and professional services are well understood, but adds: “What’s less well known is that we’re the UK’s largest manufacturing centre. Why does this matter – especially when the latest growth figures offer stark evidence of the challenges UK manufacturing faces? It matters, because our manufacturing capabilities are helping create a fairer, more successful UK economy.

“The Leeds City Region was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. Famed local industrialist, Titus Salt, embodied the enterprising zeal of this age, helping lay the foundations of the original Northern Powerhouse.  His success was borne from his willingness to innovate; whilst understanding the importance of a good quality of life for his workforce. A vision of good growth that remains relevant in a 21st Century Leeds City Region.”

Although the days of mass industrialisation are gone, but the Leeds Region’s pioneering spirit lives on, he says.  “My fellow LEP Board member, Eric Hawthorn, aptly chose Salts Mill as the manufacturing base for his telecommunications business, Radio Design.  Components made in Saltaire are exported world-wide.  Workshops that once produced wool for the world are now driving a global telecommunications revolution.

“Today, Leeds City Region manufacturing contributes over £7billion to the UK economy, with double the national average of advanced manufacturing companies.  It is home to global businesses: Borg Warner, Cummins Turbo Technologies, The Hinduja Group, and Elecon Engineering.  The sector employs 142,000 – 11% of jobs in our economy – increasing by 2,300 in the past five years. Huddersfield engineering firm, Reliance Precision, has even helped land a space probe on a comet. This is the modern Northern Powerhouse in action.”

Manufactured Yorkshire brings together up to 1,000 delegates from the food, drink, engineering, and textile sectors on May 11th at Elland Road Stadium.  The LEP has organised two seminars: one on adding services to products and LEP supply chain support; the second on big data and manufacturing.

Small Business Minister, Anna Soubry has encouraged small businesses to capitalise on the services offered by lenders, such as HSBC’s new SME fund, to support growth.