Manufacturing advisory service launches as industry growth slumps

The Government has launched a national programme to help small and medium manufacturing businesses to grow.

The new Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), launched on Tuesday, and is now available to all manufacturing businesses across England.

The programme will be delivered by the Manufacturing Advisory Consortium (MAC), and it is estimated that it will generate £1.5 billion in economic growth, 23,000 new jobs, and safeguard 50,000 other jobs.

Commenting, Business Minister Mark Prisk said: "Manufacturing contributes half of Britain's exports and has much higher productivity than the rest of the economy so it is essential to our plans for growth. That is why we are taking steps to ensure our industrial base is thriving as part of a strong balanced UK economy.

"The new Manufacturing Advisory Service will play a key role, providing tailored advice to businesses helping them to grow and thrive, with a specific focus on helping SMEs improve competitiveness and unlock their growth potential."

The launch comes as the latest manufacturing data from Markit/CIPS showed a slowdown in industry growth in Q4 of 2011. Overall, Q4 saw producers report their worst performance since the second quarter of 2009.