Spoiler alert!. Yes, it does!

Manufacturing, in spite of continual productivity gains over several decades, is a large employer.  But it also employs a multiple more (often several multiples more) in the wider supply chain – those providing parts, components and ancillary services to the large main manufacturing organisations – the factories themselves.

Manufacturing often supports highly skilled – and therefore well-paid – jobs.  This is obviously good for those well-paid employees but it also good for the taxman (and therefore wider society) and for surrounding businesses where that money is spent (and so its good for the local/regional economy.

Manufacturing (in specific sectors) supports a great deal of research and development, resulting patent filing and the creation of high value intellectual property.

In most countries, manufacturing is a key component of GDP and thus national productivity

Sure, productivity gains reduce the number of workers needed to produce a sheet of steel, a car or given quantity of medicines.

But manufacturing is resilient and innovative.  It continually comes up with new product ideas and new variants of existing product ideas to keep factories running and growing.  Most cities that are (or were) manufacturing hubs have spawned universities and colleges nearby – and the two form a symbiotic relationship and the start of a virtuous spiral of growth where high value jobs require high levels of skill, and high levels of skill produce greater innovation.

Any industrial strategy must include a manufacturing strategy – but alongside an education strategy, a skills strategy snd a strategy for development of the supporting macroeconomic transport and telecommunications infrastructures.

I hope the incoming UK government understands this!