GAMBICA believes that Instrumentation, Automation and Laboratory Technology are key enabling technologies which can play a major role in resolving pressing global and UK economic challenges;
- Automation is key to energy efficiency and carbon reduction. If we can't realistically meet our carbon reduction obligations simply by cutting down on consumption then we must become more efficient in the energy we use. Measuring energy usage and the careful control of industrial processes are key to continuing to enjoy our current standard of living whilst minimising energy use.
- Instrumentation and Automation are essential components in minimising pollution from industrial processes - vital in a sustainable world.
- Automation enables wealth to be created in the UK economy via manufacturing without reliance on labour intensive processes where the UK's higher labour costs would make it uncompetitive. It is the key to the renaissance of a manufacturing economy in the UK.
- Instrumentation and automation are key to the safe and efficient operation of energy generation, whether from wind, nuclear or "clean" fossil fuel processes.
In order for the UK to be successful in addressing these pressing issues, a sympathetic business environment needs to be created in the UK;
We need to attract the brightest students to study STEM subjects and into STEM careers. GAMBICA believes that Student and Technician apprenticeship schemes should be encouraged by tax incentives. In these schemes, students work in industry during their time on vacation periods from college or university and earn a salary, turning them into more well rounded individuals than university or college alone could do, giving companies a chance to get to know them before offering them a full-time job, and offering them the real opportunity to pay off their student loan, while they are still at college. Targeting of this initiative at strategically important subject areas, such as STEM will increase the attractiveness of this career path for our brightest students.
In the same way that investment in solar energy is encouraged by government financial inducements, investment by industry in technology aimed at energy efficiency, carbon reduction and pollution prevention, should be encouraged by a targeted capital investment tax credit system from government. This would significantly change the balance of return on investment models used by industry in favour of more investment in green measures.
UKTI export support for UK SMEs had reduced dramatically in recent years, just at a time when the UK is relying on smaller companies to contribute to the economic recovery. In particular, support for trade associations to put together UK "villages" at major trade show events has slowed to a trickle at best. This has meant that trade associations have been forced to pull out of many exhibitions leaving smaller companies to fend for themselves and putting them at a significant competitive disadvantage as compared with similar companies from other countries. GAMBICA will continue to work with UKTI to try to find ways to get some level of export support reinstated.
Have your say. Do we have the position right from the point of view of your business? What are the other areas on which we should be lobbying? Please contact us to let us know your point of view.