Andrea Wilson and the Backing Britain Campaign: Championing UK Manufacturing

By Made In Group
schedule9th Jul 24

Andrea Wilson, a proud Yorkshire woman and Director of the Leighton Buzzard-based Hone-All Precision, has emerged as a formidable advocate for UK manufacturing. Her relentless campaign for greater governmental support has captured the attention of the Made in Group, an organisation that shares her ethos. Together, they are championing the "Backing Britain" campaign, aiming to secure a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing and amplify the voice of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the industry. Recently, Andrea joined forces with the Made in Group to promote this crucial campaign and will be a key speaker at their annual Westminster trip on December 5th.

The Genesis of the Campaign

Andrea's journey into manufacturing began 30 years ago when she joined a small engineering firm. Over the decades, she witnessed the industry's evolution and the challenges it faced, particularly the lack of substantial government support. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 marked a pivotal moment for Andrea and her company, Hone-All Precision, as they navigated the disruptions caused by lockdowns. 

It was during these challenging times that Andrea, along with a group of like-minded individuals on LinkedIn, initiated the campaign for a Minister for Manufacturing. This group, initially comprising 25 members, aimed to amplify the voice of SMEs in the manufacturing sector, which they felt were consistently overlooked in government policy decisions.

The Initial Petition and its Challenges

In 2020, the campaign launched its first petition to appoint a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing. Despite the enthusiasm and support from the industry, the petition fell short of the required signatures. However, this setback did not deter Andrea. Recognising that the term "Minister" might be a barrier to broader support, the campaign was rebranded to seek an "experienced and passionate voice for Industry within Government."

The revised petition aimed to gather 100,000 signatures to prompt a parliamentary debate. The campaign garnered significant attention and support, particularly on LinkedIn and during events like the Smart Manufacturing and Engineering Week. The momentum seemed promising until the announcement of a General Election in July 2023, which dissolved Parliament and nullified all ongoing petitions, including Andrea's.

The Importance of Government Support

The dissolution of Parliament and the subsequent void in the campaign's progress highlighted a critical issue for the manufacturing sector. The Advanced Manufacturing Plan had recently pledged additional funding, giving a much-needed boost to the industry. However, without a dedicated advocate in the government, the long-term sustainability and growth of UK manufacturing remained uncertain.

Andrea emphasised the necessity of having a passionate and knowledgeable representative in government who could understand and address the unique challenges faced by the manufacturing sector. SMEs, which constitute the majority of the industry, particularly need recognition and support to thrive.

The Backing Britain Campaign and Partnership with Made in Group

The Backing Britain campaign continues to rally support for the appointment of a manufacturing advocate in government. For Andrea, the campaign is not just about political representation but about safeguarding the UK's manufacturing capabilities and heritage.

Recently, Andrea has joined forces with the Made in Group, an organisation that champions the sector aims to unite and amplify the voices of UK manufacturers. This partnership has significantly bolstered the campaign's reach and impact. Andrea will be speaking at the Made in Group's annual Westminster trip on December 5th, where she will advocate for the campaign and the critical need for governmental recognition and support for the sector.

Andrea said, “Backing Britain means ensuring the country's self-sufficiency and ability to meet its own needs, as exemplified during the ventilator challenge amid the pandemic. It is about preserving and enhancing the UK's standing as a global leader in engineering and manufacturing, sectors that have been historically underappreciated by previous governments.”

The Role of the Made in Group

The Made in Group aims to unite and amplify the voices of UK manufacturers, advocating for policies that foster growth and innovation. Jason's recent interview with Andrea highlighted the critical need for governmental recognition and support for the sector.

The new Labour government has already shown a proactive approach by appointing experts to the House of Lords to serve in the cabinet. This move has sparked hope that a similar strategy will be adopted for manufacturing, ensuring that the industry receives the attention and resources it deserves.

Moving Forward

Andrea's idea continues to gain traction, with renewed efforts to gather support for a dedicated manufacturing representative in the government. The Backing Britain campaign underscores the importance of a robust manufacturing sector for the UK economy and the need for passionate advocacy to secure its future.

Andrea's commitment to the cause and belief in the potential of UK manufacturing serve as an inspiration to many. As the campaign progresses, the industry hopes to see tangible changes that will foster a thriving, innovative, and self-sufficient manufacturing sector in the UK.

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