Covid-19 has revealed the precarious condition of UK manufacturing.
We scrabbled around to find PPE on the world market.
Rolls Royce saw their order book shrink as aviation took a severe hit. If Rolls Royce has to shrink for a
few years, where will their highly skilled workforce find work?
A British vaccine factory had recently been run down.
From my overnight visit to A&E in March 2020, I suspect that nearly all the ‚’clever‚’ and expensive
equipment in UK hospitals is made abroad. We can flex our undoubted intelligence and skills to
make a few ad-hoc ventilators in a crisis, but we‚’re not making ventilators for the world.
The UK manufacturing sector needs to be more broadly based and far more vigorous. The government can set the conditions that will be helpful to achieve this.
Our place in the geopolitical world is not to be secured simply by building an occasional aircraft carrier or HS2. Nor can we rely on exports from our financial services industry, which can easily go to any city with good telecommunications.
In the long run, the UK will be as significant in the world as our export of manufactured goods.
Manufacturing is the sure anchor in a rough sea. Who are the nations with real sway in the world? They are the manufacturers of goods in demand throughout that world.
Some say the UK can‚’t compete with low-cost countries. Not true! James Dyson said that he relocated to the Far East not because wages were lower, but because that‚’s where he could find the skills base he needed. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy are not low-cost economies, but we regularly buy their quality goods. There is no cost-reason the UK cannot compete well. We just need to change our attitude to manufacturing.