My view is quite simple; an economy that doesn’t create wealth is in trouble. Hedge funds and financial services just create an illusion of wealth that is only sustainable if that wealth relates directly and realistically to the “real economy”. If most of the workforce is selling financial products, frying hamburgers, running hedge funds or in the public sector then eventually the economy will crumble. That’s what has happened.
Manufacturing must re-assert its position in the UK economy and expand. Britain has to manufacture more of its needs in house. Luckily the UK still has some great manufacturing companies and those that have embraced modern technology are doing well. I don’t just mean the plant and machinery; it’s about branding, customer contact, and the web. Using digital technology to sell, service, recruit and show the world that British manufacturers are up-to-date and mean business.
The manufacturing sector can harness innovative design in new green products. Look at the latest range of cars being produced by BMW. Excellent products at a premium price built to the highest standards by an EU labour force. Britain retains a strong worldwide position on the internet. Being “online” isn’t just about e-commerce, although that’s a massive sector it’s about management systems, order processing, customer contact, staff involvement and meaningful business partnerships.
UK based engineering companies that collaborate with overseas partners yet retain R & D and high tech manufacture in the UK are able to exploit the best of both worlds. Now is the time to re-balance the emphasis on the British side of the equation.