Weekly Focus: Internet connectivity is a key part of the modern business environment
On Monday 8 February, the EEF released an infographic following a survey of members on their use of digital infrastructure.
Manufacturers need a business environment in the UK that works for them; internet connectivity is an important enabler to that and will support a productive, skilled, investment and export intensive sector.
In their Business Environment survey in 2014, respondents cited internet connectivity as the second most important infrastructure network for investment. This most recent survey shows that 91% of manufacturers say a high speed internet connection is as essential to their business as electricity and water.
And the 4th industrial revolution is upon us. Decisions taken now on internet connectivity will have a critical bearing in the near future on whether or not Britain is a leading player in Industry 4.0. To date, most of the focus has been on future household internet access despite the economic returns from better internet connectivity being higher if businesses are prioritised.
Companies are planning to invest more in internet connected capital equipment over the next five years. While the quality of networks isn’t currently an issue, the survey also shows manufacturers are currently having to pay a premium to ensure high speed access and, looking forward, are fearful poor digital connectivity may prove a drag on future growth.
In response, EEF is making the following recommendations of government:
- Task the National Infrastructure Commission with assessing the UK's digital infrastructure network and outline an investment path that will see the UK consistently delivering internationally competitive internet access to businesses.
- Launch a review of competition for business broadband, with a particular focus on leased lines, with the aim of getting the cost to businesses falling over this Parliament.
- Ensure Innovate UK has the funding to work with industry to develop cluster networks of early adopters by easing the uptake of digital technologies across industrial supply chains, this should include supporting investment in physical industry 4.0 demonstrators.
- Be proactive in pushing for full implementation of the digital single market in goods and services across the EU to deliver benefits for UK businesses.
EEF and NDI host roundtable discussion with the Minister of State for Defence Procurement
EEF and NDI hosted a roundtable dinner for members to discuss policy issues with the Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne MP. During the event the minister set out the Government's thinking and focus on promoting innovation in defence and exporting, as well as discussing a range of issues linked to the defence industry including procurement and defence policy.
For more information contact Celia Charlwood, Government Affairs Adviser
In the media
THe EEF published a survey of the UK’s digital infrastructure which was reported in the FT, BBC and Daily Telegraph, while their comments on the latest Index of Production data were reported in the Daily Telegraph. Zach Witton our Deputy Chief Economist was interviewed on Sky on the production figures while Chris Richards, Senior Business Environment Policy Adviser was featured in the Ian King evening business report on Sky.
For more information contact Mark Swift, Head of News
Week in review
The UK’s annual trade deficit widened by £0.3bn to £34.7bn in 2015; and the goods deficit widened by £1.9bn to £125bn.
Index of production
Total production output increased by 1.0% between 2014 and 2015. However, over the same period, manufacturing output decreased by 0.2%.
The week ahead
16th Feb: Consumer prices
17th Feb: Index Labour market statistics
Blogs from this week
08 Feb 2016
Global trade challenge by Edward Naylor
08 Feb 2016
Week ahead 8th February by Lee Hopley
09 Feb 2016
Productivity in partnerships by Phil Lewis