Q and A with Dawn Huntrod of Make UK

Industry Insights

Q and A with Dawn Huntrod of Make UK

2nd November 2022

Dawn Huntrod is Regional Membership Director (North) for the manufacturers’ organisation, Make UK.

Make UK champions and celebrates British manufacturing and manufacturers. Representing 20,000 manufacturers, it is focused on creating the most supportive environment for UK manufacturers to thrive, innovate and compete.

Tell us about your role with Make UK…

I joined Make UK in January 2020 as Membership Manager for the North East and in January 2021 I was asked to take on the role of Region Director for the North which includes the North West and Yorkshire & Humber.

Currently my role involves gathering intelligence and articulating that information back to our policy team in London who communicate straight into Government.

Our members are here because they know we have an extensive knowledge of UK manufacturing, which means we’re able to influence policymaking at local, national and international levels.

As well as being immersed in local political landscapes and wider stakeholder groups, I also look at how to help members connect and grow their networks. We put on lots of events to help members with their issues and drive their businesses towards greater productivity

Horizon Works is looking forward to exhibiting at the Northern Make UK & Make UK Defence Conference at Hardwick Hall on November 29. Why should manufacturers attend the event?

As well as shining the spotlight on how manufacturers in the North are thriving, the conference is an opportunity to discuss and debate what manufacturers in the region need from local and national Government.

While manufacturers have strong ambitions to grow, they need the tools to be able to do so. Their priorities can differ to their Midlands and Southern counterparts, so it’s important that when we engage in such debate we are focusing on ‘why this matters for the North’.

What do you feel are the key strengths of the manufacturing sector in the North?

The North is home to some great businesses such as Nissan, Hitachi Rail and Caterpillar, and we also have companies that specialise in many sectors including aerospace, electronics and pharmaceuticals.

With great businesses in the region come great supply chain opportunities. Our supply chains are also adept and can diversify into new markets ensuring, that our highly skilled workforce is retained in the region.

Our region’s manufacturers have gone through a very challenging couple of years with Covid, Brexit, rising energy costs and the ongoing skills shortage, and they continue to work diligently.

What does Make UK bring to the northern manufacturing sector?

It’s a combination of things: our knowledge and understanding of the sector, and communicating what our members think directly into Government.

Collectively we represent 20,000 companies of all sizes, from start-ups to multinationals, across engineering, manufacturing, technology and the wider industrial sector. We directly represent more than 5000 businesses who are members of Make UK.

Everything we do – from providing essential business support and training to championing manufacturing industry in the UK and the EU – is designed to help British manufacturers compete, innovate and grow.

In Make UK’s view, how can manufacturers’ growth be supported – and how can key challenges be addressed?

Firstly, reduce energy costs faced by businesses and maximise on the incentives to reduce reliance on the grid, by committing to extend the energy relief scheme beyond six months, and extending the 100% business rates exemption for plant and machinery from 12 months to three years.

Secondly, tackle the chronic labour shortage and mitigate future skills shortages. This could be done by expanding the Shortage Occupation List to include job roles in short supply, that may not have previously met the criteria for the SOL, and expanding the current tax exemptions for work-related training to include a Training Investment Allowance, which would provide a tax rebate on investment in training for existing employees.

Thirdly, look at business competitiveness and boost trade at home and abroad, by extending the super-deduction scheme, whilst also extending the current business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure to include manufacturing. This should be extended until at least the end of 2023.

And finally, allow CE marketed goods to be recognised on GB markets to ease the current frictions.

For more information on the Northern Make UK and Make UK Defence Dinner and Conference, click here.

For more information on Make UK, click here.