In a letter to the Financial Times, manufacturers’ association Make UK described the changes announced by the Prime Minister last week as a “huge setback” to manufacturing that would create uncertainty.
The letter was supported by 15 other manufacturing trade bodies, including print’s BPIF.
CEO Charles Jarrold told Printweek: “We work closely with Make UK anyway. The issue here is that from an environmental point of view we’ve put a lot of time, effort and resource into our focus on helping the industry understand how it can, in a business-sensible way, improve environmental performance.
“Environmental performance is a huge issue for everybody in our industry. Not only do printers care passionately about this but our customers do too. We’ve got our roadmap and it’s been massively well received. It’s critically important to the industry and it's critically important that it’s done in a business-friendly way,” he explained.
Jarrold also highlighted the need for an industrial strategy “that wasn’t about picking winners”.
“What I do think we need is an industrial strategy that really strongly supports investment into skills and into technology to improve productivity across the UK, and that’s where we align really strongly with Make UK.
“The point we make to government is that our industry is packed with entrepreneurial people – mainly small- and medium-sized businesses – who are making significant investment decision all the time.
“So, there is a real role for an industrial strategy to support that, and one that also aligns really closely with net zero and with environmental performance. A consistent approach to that and to industrial strategy is where government can really play a strong role to help all of us.”
Not all manufacturers are opposed to Sunak’s changes, with some describing the delays as “pragmatic”.
A Printweek poll asking if Sunak was right to delay the government's green commitments is currently running at 70% yes, 30% no.