Tag Archives: manufacturing

Opinion: Manufacturing is a growing sector in the UK and EU membership is vital

manufacturing - Some rights reserved by I-5 Design and ManufactureManufacturing has been something I have been passionate about for years now. When I was MP for Rochdale I helped to set up the all party manufacturing group in the House of Commons and then when I became MEP for the West Midlands region I jointly set up the Manufacturing Forum in the European Parliament. I have represented two areas where manufacturing has been so important. In my view, it is even more relevant today in helping to rebalance the economy and …

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Phil Bennion MEP writes: Manufacturers say Britain must stay in the EU

 EU flag - Some rights reserved by European ParliamentOn Monday, the UK’s manufacturing sector gave us a clear message. In Europe, in work. In a landmark report by the EEF, a trade association representing 6000 companies, manufacturers emphasised the importance of being part of the EU for their exports and business plans. 85% of firms surveyed would vote to remain in the EU.  One third said that they would be less likely to increase investment in Britain if we were to leave the EU.

Politicians across the political spectrum

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LibLink: 160mph Vince Cable stands in for Jeremy Clarkson

Vince Cable - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsYesterday’s Sunday Times carried a treat for those of us who are Liberal Democrats and petrolheads. Jeremy Clarkson being “away” is seen by some as a treat in itself, but his replacement for this week was our Vince Cable.

Vince took an £150,000 Aston Martin Rapide S for a test drive during which he reached 160 mph. His criticism was as follows:

The car was more capable and felt quicker than my favourite Aston — the DB9 — although I was disappointed that it didn’t have

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Opinion: Making MORE in Britain with the Lib Dem Campaign for Manufacturing

Nick Clegg and Vince Cable at a factory 2 - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsThe Lib Dem Campaign for Manufacturing had a hugely successful start, with the first campaign aim being implemented in the Autumn Statement. Our proposal on capital allowances saw the Chancellor increase the annual investment allowance from £25,000 to £250,000 for a two year period. This move by the Treasury will help businesses invest in plant and machinery and I am already seeing the difference in Burnley with a number of firms taking advantage of the …

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Opinion: Making MORE in Britain with the Regional Growth Fund

Nick Clegg and Vince Cable at a factory 2 - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsThe Spring Conference will debate the motion on creating a strong manufacturing sector in a strong economy. In Vince Cable, the coalition government has a powerful voice for manufacturing. Significant progress is being made in building a more resilient, diverse and balanced economy. Lib Dems are also becoming confident in charting an interventionist industrial strategy that avoids the twin failures of laissez faire and state support for ailing companies – the two positions characterised by historic Conservative and Labour thinking.

The Conference motion says that government funds made available through the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) has led to the creation and/or safeguarding of over 550,000 jobs

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An apology to Dr Vince Cable

In what will likely be my last political outing for a while, I got the train to Cheltenham recently for a talk by the Business Secretary, Dr. Vince Cable. It was hosted by Cheltenham Ladies’ College, organised by the impressive local Liberal Youth branch and attended by some exceedingly bright young students.

As expected, the Business Secretary spoke with the lucidity, insight and maturity which characterises his style of politics. He detailed the origins and consequences of the 2008 financial ‘heart attack’ – in terms even I could understand – to a packed room …

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Gordon Birtwistle writes…Making the industrial strategy work in Burnley

Aerospace manufacturing is a huge contributor to the economic make up of Burnley, a town steeped in manufacturing tradition. International aerospace manufacturers Aircelle are at the forefront of high tech manufacturing for the aerospace industry and are a great provider of jobs and wealth to the local and national economy.

Burnley has benefited well from all three rounds of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The government has awarded £1.8m to the redevelopment of the old Michelin site into a brand new state of the art Aerospace Supply Chain Park. The bid was put forward by a consortium headed up by Aircelle …

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Making the Industrial Strategy Work, Part 1

As the economy slowly rebuilds, Vince Cable’s Industrial Strategy will play a key role in whether we will manufacture more in Britain. The challenge is to replace imports, export more and to be at the cutting edge of new technologies.

The case for government nurturing and supporting long term manufacturing growth in the UK is a compelling one. The challenge is to make this intervention work. This article is the first of four articles – brought together by the Lib Dem Campaign for Manufacturing – from around the country and from different industrial perspectives to inform this debate.

Government should have a different agenda from business. This needs to be said, because too often business’s agenda is self-serving. Shareholders want more profit and lower corporation tax, big business interests want favourable government legislation and employers want to lower the cost of employment. But nearly all these issues are valid for large numbers of businesses whether successful or struggling, whether exporting or not, whether investing or not.

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Gordon Birtwistle MP writes: Liberal Democrat Campaign for Manufacturing launches

As someone with a long-standing interest in manufacturing, based on having over 50 years’ experience as an engineer and employer in industry, I am very excited to be a member of the newly formed Liberal Democrat Campaign for Manufacturing Group.

This much-needed group aims to promote and develop manufacturing in the UK in both existing and new areas. Whilst we have a manufacturing sector to be proud of, it does require investment. Energising this sector is key to getting the economy back on track in the current difficult economic climate.

The Liberal Democrats have already delivered a number of key policies to support …

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Industry takes advantage of government supply chain funds

Thirty-two manufacturers have successfully applied for £90 million of government funding to help British suppliers compete in the global economy and attract foreign investors, Vince Cable has announced.

Vince commented:

Building up the supply chain and encouraging new suppliers to manufacture here is one of the steps we’re taking to strengthen

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Opinion: The Lib Dems should be the party of manufacturing

There are some good economic reasons for the decline of British manufacturing. But decades of government policy are also to blame.

All manufacturers in rich countries face challenges and threats from cheaper labour costs overseas. We can compete successfully with a combination of high levels of productivity and investment, as well as getting the best out of our people.

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Opinion: Derby, Bombardier and lessons for Government

The award of a £1.4bn contract to Bombardier’s rival Siemens seemed to threaten the existence of Britain’s last remaining train-maker. 1200 workers were being laid off by Bombardier with more losses in the supply chain. The award to Siemens was all the more galling as it followed statements by politicians of all parties saying how important it is that we boost our manufacturing sector.

Two salient points have emerged regarding the Labour Government’s tender process. Firstly, they set this up as a ‘Private Finance Initiative’ and secondly that they used the ‘Utilities Contract Regulations’ rather than the ‘Public Contracts Regulations’. Both …

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Opinion: Bombardier – the end is nigh?‏

Just over a year ago, I wrote on Lib Dem Voice that the future for the Bombardier train building plant at Derby looked precarious. At that time, my fears were around the deep spending cuts that we were being forewarned of. Happily those cuts have not so far seriously affected transport spending. But last week, the same Derby Litchurch Lane Bombardier plant suffered a severe blow when the Department for Transport announced that the order for new trains to work the Thameslink service in London is likely to go to Siemens in Germany. Siemens builds fine trains (although, as …

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Gordon Birtwistle MP writes… My response to the Budget

For me, this budget goes some way towards rebalancing the economy. The last Government left the country in almost financial ruin and have come up with no credible policies in opposition. The chancellor had very little to play with in his budget but I think the steps he is taking are the right ones.

This was definitely a budget influenced by Lib Dems. It was pleasing to see how many of our policies made an appearance in the budget, particularly the increase in the personal allowance over the next three years.

The budget also provided confirmation of the go ahead of the …

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Ian Swales MP’s maiden speech

This is the last of four maiden speeches presented here this weekend for the interest and comments of our readers.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for calling me to make my first speech to the House. I congratulate all those who have also made their first speeches today. I am very struck, and a bit awestruck, by the erudition that they have all displayed. As the Member for Redcar, I am proud to be the first Liberal to represent the area since 1923 and also very pleased to hear this afternoon’s debate about potential voting system changes, which might do …

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