Coalition makes same mistakes as Thatcher to cause more damage to manufacturing than any previous Tory government


The Tory-led government is doing more damage to UK manufacturing than any previous Conservative government, Unite has warned.

Speaking at the Steel Industry Manufacturers Association in Blackpool on Saturday, Unite’s assistant general secretary responsible for manufacturing, Tony Burke, said:

“We are the 7th largest manufacturer in the world. Manufacturing contributes over £140 billion per annum to our economy and provides 55% of UK exports, employing over 2.5m people providing real jobs at every level, from innovation and research to production and marketing.

“However, all of that has been put at risk by a Tory-led coalition government which is strong on manufacturing rhetoric but weak on delivery. For some of us, the black period of the 1980s will bring back dark memories of the destruction of the UK’s manufacturing base, when unemployment rose to over 3 million and the industrial heartland was laid waste by Thatcher’s government. This is now being closely mirrored by the same ideology, but now clothed in modern softness by the Cameron/Clegg government.

“The failure then for the government to adopt an industrial policy and manufacturing strategy to support change is another factor mirrored in today’s UK. Its determination to cut public services, at a rate which no economy could sustain without immense and unnecessary hardship, this government has repeated the mistakes of Thatcher.

“On the back of the cuts agenda, this government has tied its own hands behind its back through an economic strategy wedded to public service destruction whilst placing a reliance on the discredited market to solve the private sector ills.

“As I have said recently, this government has no Plan A, never mind a Plan B and its whole manufacturing strategy is ‘shot to pieces’. To this end, Unite is leading the battle amongst trade unions for an alternative strategy and in a few weeks time, will be launching our strategy for manufacturing called “2020 Vision” which highlights what manufacturing needs to create a sustainable future.

“There has to be a sustainable manufacturing sector capable of competing across the globe and providing well paid long term skilled jobs for workers across the UK. We need to stand up for manufacturing, to defend jobs and our industries.”

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