The Interviews

An opportunity to watch some of the conversations
that helped us create our highly regarded series of documentaries
on issues of critical importance to manufacturers.  


Manufacturers have been rightly sceptical of government policy that drops political appointees into jobs that are of great significance to manufacturers, yet they have had no prior experience of the sector, or even of business in the main, and with months they are replaced. It has been hard to keep up with the revolving doors and changing names of government departments! 

That’s where it was refreshing to meet George Freeman MP, the Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, a passionate advocate for advanced manufacturing and engineering, and in particular of the amazing advances in technology that will define our future.

Nick invited him to react to some of the comments made during the course of our documentary Bridging the Valley of Death    


Hermann Hauser is one of the world’s greatest innovators, inventors and promoters of advanced technology.

He founded Acorn Computers, which developed the famed BBC Micro computer in the 1980s. He went on to co-found Arm, the chip company that helped power the smartphone revolution.

His stature and reputation led to the then-Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to ask Hauser to report on how the UK could develop its own network of Technical Innovation Centres that had proven such a success in Germany. The result was the Catapults Network, including the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, that have survived changes of government over the last 13 years and become a core part of the innovation-commercialisation ecosystem in the UK.    


Chi Onwurah is that most rare member of parliament – she has had a long and distinguished career as an electrical engineer and as such brings great knowledge and experience to her role as Shadow Minister for Science, Research & Digital. 

The extent to which the Labour Party have invested so much time and expertise into articulating policy towards manufacturing has – in contrast to the last few years of government confusion – led to growing confidence in the sector that a future Labour government will play a much more active role in supporting UK manufacturing, particularly as the challenges of Net Zero oblige manufacturers to change fundamentally many of the habits and processes of the past.   

Professor Richard jones

The UK is a divided nation. London and the South East have the strongest economies and highest productivity levels, while most of the UK falls below the North European average.
It’s likely no coincidence that London and the South East benefit from the highest proportion of R&D spend, with London, Oxford and Cambridge accounting for almost half of total UK
public sector R&D spending.
Such imbalances reinforce existing economic divides, says Professor Richard Jones, a noted expert on innovation policy.
In his landmark overview of the UK’s innovation landscape, he argues that now is the time to ‘level up’ R&D spending by using local knowledge to build on existing strengths in both the
science base and business community.

steve lindsey

Steve Lindsey is a self-confessed problem solver. His flagship invention, the Blade Compressor, represents a step-change in air compressor technology. It takes the traditional
piston and cylinder but wraps the unit inside a ring – replacing the up-and-down movement with a circular mechanism, delivered via a rotating blade.
This seemingly small change in orientation enables the Blade Compressor to operate 34% more efficiently than traditional units. The compressor also has the added advantages of oil￾free operation, increased reliability and durability, far lower energy usage and easy of
In April 2023, the first commercially-available product built around the Blade Compressor rolled off the assembly line at a state-of-the-art new factory in Doncaster.


Dr. Ewan Lloyd-Baker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about supporting UK-based
engineering and manufacturing businesses.
He led the acquisition of one of the UK’s oldest engineering companies, Hayward Tyler
Group, and its subsequent survival through the financial crisis. The efforts of Lloyd-Baker and his team led to the business doubling in size, winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise and
opening the world’s most advanced facility for specialist fluid-filled motor manufacturing.
He is the Chairman of i3 Group, an organisation that helps companies improve performance,
efficiency and reliability through design, automation, manufacture, testing and technology.


Research & Development (R&D) tax relief is a government incentive to reward the time and money businesses put into creating or improving products, processes or services. By
reducing the cost of R&D it is intended to encourage innovation.
Two schemes are available, one for large companies and one for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Recent changes have reduced the tax relief available for SMEs while
offering more to large companies.
There is also talk of merging the SME scheme with the large company scheme from April 2024 onwards. Doing so could have disastrous consequences, says Terry Cheesman, a
leading UK tax specialist with extensive knowledge of R&D Tax Relief.