Get Britain Back to Work

There was a sobering and interesting article in the Sunday Telegraph by Liam Halligan, which fully emphasised the unbelievable drop, in economic activity, which has occurred with the onset of Coronavirus.

This is some 19% worse than the recession in 2008, when the credit crunch began to take effect.

There was a sharp Contraction of GDP in April 2020.
Monthly GDP, Seasonally adjusted, UK, January 2008 to April 2020
Source: Schroders

Mr Halligan made a number of recommendations, including, adopting the 1 metre rule; having flexible quarantine and obviously getting children back to School.

These are all good, sensible tonics for the economy, but the main item for the Government to consider is that if unemployment does reach 9% or 10%, then we need as an economy to create more sustainable jobs, and this time we will not be able to create these jobs in service industries; restaurants or bars as reduced capacities will dictate less staff numbers and a shrinking service sector.

Whilst the country is in a state of “statis”, we need to be widening our horizons from discussing the political correctness of Fawlty Towers and the like, and making concrete steps to reinvent our economy, with a stronger manufacturing base.  Our view is that this can be achieved by tax incentives for manufacturers; subsidised power where required and lastly something which we have been calling for, for years, once we are out of the grip of the EEC we should create a new series of Enterprise Zones. We would designate areas in every town in the UK outside London.

We know that these have worked in the past, in terms of job creation and incentivising manufacturers to upgrade.

We also need a fully integrated manufacturing strategy.  We are an inventive nation, but often fail to deliver on market leading ideas and inventions.  The book, “What We Have Lost”, by James Hamilton-Paterson, which is a detailed and in-depth discussion of the dismantling of Great Britain’s manufacturing capability, shows where we have gone wrong in the past, anybody reading this book cannot be anything else but depressed by the UK’s previous performance.

We need to learn from these mistakes and we urgently need the Government now to refocus out of this summer madness and plan for the future of the UK as a manufacturing nation but this time with a full strategy in place.

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