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Revolutionising Supply Chains: UK’s First Overarching Strategy to Ensure Access to Critical Goods

In response to the ongoing shake-up of vital trade routes, the Department of Business and Trade launched the Critical Imports and Supply Chains Strategy on 17th January 2024.  

This initiative aims to bolster the country’s ability to manage supply chain shocks by reducing bureaucratic procedures and stress-testing resilience.  But what does it mean for businesses in Greater Manchester?  

Building upon the existing measures for semiconductors, batteries, and critical minerals, the newly launched strategy marked the UK’s first overarching strategy designed to secure access to those critical goods vital to the UK’s security and prosperity. It will help create strong and resilient supply chains for vital goods, shield the UK from potential disruptions, and reduce dependence on protectionist or coercive states.    

“There are many unpredictable events that can threaten our access to vital goods, from the pandemic, Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine, and the ongoing attacks in the Red Sea,” said Nusrat Ghani, Minister for Industry and Economic Security. “That’s why we’re taking action to ensure crucial imports like medicines can reach consumers, no matter what happens around the world.”   

“With this strategy, we’re equipping businesses so they no longer have to rely on unpredictable partners for supplies of the goods that keep our country going. By making supply chains stronger we’re helping make the UK a truly safe and reliable place to do business.”  

“In today’s globalised manufacturing, managing supply chains effectively is a critical issue that manufacturers cannot afford to overlook,” said Geoff Crossley, Senior Manufacturing Advisor at GM Business Growth Hub. “The supply chain is not just about logistical pathways; it is the lifeline that determines operational efficiency, cost management, and customer satisfaction.” 

“Manufacturers operating in Greater Manchester heavily rely on a well-optimised supply chains to source raw materials promptly, maintain consistent production schedules, and swiftly deliver finished goods to meet market demands. This intricate supply chain web can be difficult for individual manufacturers to navigate. However, the Critical Imports and Supply Chains strategy will help to boost the resilience of supply chains of vital goods and raw materials for the UK and help our manufacturers to face supply chain challenges.” 

The strategy outlined the government’s plan to create an online portal where businesses can report regulatory barriers or disruption to the government, which will “work to remove these barriers wherever possible”.   

The following steps include helping businesses stress test resilience to supply chain shocks, including climate-related disruptions, and creating a critical imports council to give businesses a voice in the UK government’s work to shore up supply chains.    

In addition, the UK government says it will also look to strike more trade deals that secure access to critical goods, connect UK businesses to alternative overseas suppliers, and secure international investment in energy transition projects. 

Our specialist Manufacturing Advisors in the GM Business Growth Hub are here to help manufacturers of all sizes in Greater Manchester ensure their business runs smoothly by proactively managing their supply chain. Come and talk to us through our website: 

 Manufacturing service enquiry | GM Business Growth Hub 

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