On the morning of the 23rd January, Composites UK’s Chairman, Prof. Alan Banks, met with other UK industry leaders and Greg Hands MP – Minister of State for Trade Policy. This was an informal meeting organised by Make UK where the delegates were able to pose questions to the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) team regarding issues faced by UK industry.
Composites UK is the trade association for the UK composites supply chain with over 380 members nationwide.
By far the biggest topic was export controls and the bureaucracy faced within Government circles when export licenses are applied for. The Minister was given examples – including some from Composites UK members – of the inconsistencies faced by UK companies that is directly leading to jobs, investment and GVA moving overseas due to lack of clear policies. We know of cases where Composites UK members have been advised to meet their export contracts from their overseas facilities which is counterproductive to a stronger manufacturing industry. Alan highlighted this to Stephen Phipson at Make UK in 2023 and he has taken this up directly with the Secretary of State, Kemi Badenoch.
Alan discussed the topic of composite materials being a critical material and crucial to the UK’s net-zero ambitions. Whilst this topic isn’t within minister Hands’ remit, he did understand the message and passed this onto the relevant DBT team with whom Alan will follow up.
From Alan’s earlier statement regarding the published Import Strategy, Alan will also follow up on the open items such as CBAM in the coming weeks to ensure members are well represented.
Composites UK’s CEO, David Bailey and Operations Manager, Sue Halliwell, recently met with Sarah Jones MP, Shadow Minister for Industry and Decarbonisation (along with other members of the Composites UK Board) to put the case for our industry. It is likely that we are in an election year and Composites UK is working hard for its members to thrive in a growing and challenging market.
The report from this meeting is available to download, here.