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Can resource efficiency solve the North-South divide?

A new task force has been launched to boost prosperity in the North by improving the resource efficiency of manufacturing with smart technologies.

The Tech Task Force, launched by think tank Green Alliance, aims to address the UK’s regional productivity gap by exploring how manufacturers can be encouraged to implement digital technologies that maximise the value of resources used in the production process.

The founding members of the task force include Innovate UK and its the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, Schneider Electric, engineering consultancy Ramble and trade association GAMBICA.

According to Green Alliance, a typical UK manufacturer spends four times as much on materials, water and energy as they do on labour. Smart technologies that maximise the value of these resources could help to boost productivity at the same time as supporting cleaner growth.

The government’s own Made Smarter review, published last year, shows that technology-enabled resource efficiency could add £10 billion to manufacturing sector profits in the UK.

Angela Francis, Chief Economist at Green Alliance, said:

“We know smart technology is a powerful way to deliver clean growth and bring business resource costs down, but limited uptake is preventing UK businesses from realising those opportunities.

“To get politicians’ attention we have to show them how this can benefit blue-collar workers in the Midlands and the North of England, who have told them in no uncertain terms the economy isn’t delivering for them.”

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