Shadow Business Secretary at key event as blue chip firms unite to help manufacturers

20th June 2014

SHADOW Business Secretary Chuka Umunna has this week been confirmed as one of the keynote speakers at the Global Manufacturing Festival in Sheffield on June 25.

The event provides a rare opportunity for small and medium-sized companies in South Yorkshire to connect with some of the leading players in the manufacturing industry. Blue chip companies including HS2, Siemens Energy, GE Oil & Gas and Airbus are using it as part of a move to provide better visibility of big industrial contracts. And Chuka Umunna MP will also be there to talk about Labour's vision for the manufacturing industry in the UK. The two-day festival, to be held at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Training Centre in Rotherham, is set to break records for both attendance and exhibitors this year. More than 500 will attend a manufacturers' dinner, sponsored by Lloyds Bank, on June 24, while there is a conference and an all-day exhibition with more than 100 stands a marked increase on 2013 on June 25. More than 1,000 visitors are expected, including many from South Yorkshire itself with firms from Sheffield and Rotherham well represented. The event is a chance for industrial suppliers in the UK to talk directly to decision-makers from some of the biggest companies in the world and Mr Umunna says such dialogue will be key to the future as the country seeks economic rebalancing. He said: -The Global Manufacturing Festival brings together small British manufacturers with major companies, enabling them to forge new links and relationships, so I'm delighted to be involved. -We need to do all we can to strengthen Britain's manufacturing supply chains and give businesses across the country the chance to benefit from global opportunities. Mike Wright, executive director of Jaguar Land Rover, will also be at the Festival to talk about the future role of British companies in the UK's automotive industry. Mr Wright has been commissioned by the Labour Party to research the subject and, though his report will be published soon after the event, he will field questions on the steps required by British firms to access the supplier programmes of global carmakers. Siemens will use the Festival to host its first major meet-the-buyer event for its UK offshore wind energy business since announcing a £160m investment in two facilities in Hull that will create 1,000 jobs in Hull, while HS2 will reveal the supplier opportunities that the £45 billion rail project will bring across the UK and particularly the Leeds to Nottingham corridor. HS2 wants to speak to companies interested in bidding for contracts for tunnels, surface routes, stations, railway systems, rolling stock, depots, signalling, engineering design and other components. And Beth West, commercial director of HS2, said: -Sheffield City Region is a prime example of an area that can achieve significant benefits from HS2 because of its strong manufacturing base. -The construction work involved in building the new station at Sheffield Meadowhall will also bring direct opportunities for local businesses. GE Oil & Gas is seeking potential suppliers to its entire Subsea business at the Festival, while Rolls-Royce, Tata Speciality Steel and Firth Rixson, along with large delegations from China and Canada, will provide similar opportunities for business. To register, book exhibition space and tables for the dinner, contact visit or contact

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