Thursday, 31 May 2007

Industrial Development

British industry has continued to suffer under New Labour as much as it did under the Tories.

As the 'market' place opens up, British workers are forced to accept huge job losses, tighter wage rises, and worsening conditions whilst the shops are flooded by cheap goods produced in foriegn countries who allow working conditions that would have been a disgrace in the 19th Century, and poverty wages.

Is it time for an element of protectionism to reintroduced to enable British industry to recover, and to force other governments to improve worker conditions and wages.

Several suggestions -

1) If tariffs were imposed on imported goods to bring them up to a level where British industries could compete, would this work?

2) Only allow imports from countries with acceptable human rights records and acceptable levels of pay and working conditions.

3) Invest govt money in building up British industries to reduce the need for imports and the environmental consequences that go with global trade?

4) Apply similar terms to food produce, to encourage us to grow more of the food we eat ionstead of sending the best produce abroad, whilst importing food that European countries know is too crap for their own consumers.


Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

I would lean towards 2 but it must be implemented carefully and not a blanket ban straight away on all imports from those countries.

There also has to be a discussion about what level of worker rights are essential for a state to be acceptable. The right to free and independent trade unions would be one condition, I suggest, which would rule out China and Cuba for a start...

Curlew said...

Good post. This is one issue that really irks me. We are fast becoming a country of service industry - primarily financial services and a small tourist industry. I feel that eventually everything we depend on will be imported, and this means we will lose our independence on the world stage.

Eventually prices will normalise - some years hence though. The best way to control this will be the green option - food miles and commodity miles could be taxed? The result may hopefully provide some rebuild in British Manufacture and farming?

Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

"this means we will lose our independence on the world stage"

Quite. Check out the most recent trade deficit figures.

AN said...

According to Goldman Sachs Sterling has been overvalued by around 10% throughout the brown government, in the interests if maintaining London as a major financial centre.

The Scottish executove estimated that this hasd cost 100000 manufacturing jobs in Scotland, scale that up for 1 million manufacturing jobs in the UK.

So it seems to me the way forard is to restore controls of intersts rates to the government, and devalue the pound.

Tax incentives for industry and manufacturing for genuine training programmes leading to proper skills would also be a good quid pro quo for maintaining a higher level of corporation tax than competitor countries.

Curlew said...

Goldman Sachs said : "throughout the brown government"

A Freudian slip if ever there was :-)

AN said...

well only slightly, it was sort of what I meant.

It should have read "throughout the period of Brown's governance of the economy."

I don't think Blair worries about the economy, do you? He is too busy worrying about how history will judge him.