John Elliott
John Elliott

Member Article

Fighting to restore UK manufacturing

John Elliott. chairman of Ebac, shares his views on why manufacturing in the UK needs to take centre stage.

The UK trade deficit – the difference between what we buy and what we sell – is the best indicator that our wellbeing as a nation is at risk, yet the Government, opposition and political commentators have their eyes off the issue.

We’re buying more than we sell. We’re consuming more than we produce. If we don’t make changes we’ll end up like Greece.

The total trade deficit rose to a monthly figure of £1.76bn this year. Only by placing manufacturing back at the heart of the economy can this be reversed. I am launching a campaign, called Stop Gap, to try to get people talking and to influence the political agenda to encourage the re-positioning of manufacturing at the heart of the UK economy.

We don’t need to do anything clever, simply invest in factories that can make the things we all buy, like we used to do. Buying goods from China may give us cheap goods today but is disastrous in the long term.

In 2004, I led the successful campaign against a Regional Assembly in the North East and was regional chairman of Business for Sterling the pro-pound business organisation. With Stop Gap, I hope to encourage other manufacturers across the country to join me in fighting for something which can make a real, positive difference to the rest of the country.

Having run a manufacturing business for 40 years, like most businessmen, my eye is firmly on the economy – why we are where we are, what has caused the current economic turmoil and what the future holds.

I firmly believe the Government, Opposition and media have their eye off the real problem, while focussing in minute detail on such things as GDP and the level of VAT. The trade deficit is all but brushed under the carpet, when it offers one of the greatest opportunities to boost the UK economy.

The answer is simple. We have stopped making the basic goods we need and we have to start doing that again. We have factories sitting dormant in the UK which can be revitalised, and with the creation of around 200,000 jobs across the country, manufacturing items such as shirts or white goods, this economy can get back into better shape.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by John Elliott .

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