Britain’s manufacturing has been in steady decline for many years. We now have a massive and growing trade deficit in goods with the EU. In the 25 years of membership of the EU Single Market the UK’s deficit in goods with the EU has grown remorselessly from £5 billion in 1992 to £96 billion p.a. in 2016. The deficit with the whole world totalled £134 billion (2016) or 6.5% of GDP.(7)
• Halving this deficit should be a 10-year priority in a 20-year programme of manufacturing expansion worth £90 billion of increased added value, costing around £50 billion of repayable public loans, paid for by cancelling HS2.
• On average UK manufacturing supplies only 12% of the UK market. This level of manufacturing capacity is dangerous for both economic stability and national security.
• Our national strategy has therefore to be to increase the range of UK products, with particular emphasis on Sustainable Design principles, namely the three Rs: reuse, repair, recycle.
• There are also pressing needs for new capital goods industries including: ship-building for a post Brexit fishing fleet and coastal protection vessels, and for a new generation of factory-built modular homes.
• Two new forms of manufacturing organisation will be needed to achieve these goals for virtually all product sectors with both public and private investment: (1) Existing companies prepared to expand and collaborate in consortia with specially recruited design and marketing staff; (2) New grant-aided companies set up on the co-ownership principle.
7 This section is provided courtesy of Professor Stephen Bush, as published in his paper ‘Produce & Prosper’. Stephen is Emeritus Professor of Process Manufacture and Polymer Engineering at Manchester University.
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