PoliticsUK - 2001

Full Version: Press Cycle #36: Economy & Manufacturing
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2
"Are you satisfied with the economy's performance?"

Closes 23:59 on the 19th
The news that the UK has bucked the international trend and continued to avoid recession is a tremendous vote of confidence in British business and in this Government's economic policies. I welcome the Institute of Directors continuing to point out that if we had gone with the Tory economic model of slash and burn economics leading to debt and deficit we would have seen a recession in the UK for the first time since the last time the Tories were in office. That being said we cannot afford to rest on our laurels and I can confirm to you that the next Budget shall be a business budget. In the next budget we shall continue to see increases in the income tax threshold and we shall take measures to cut Corporation Tax. Britain succeeds when everyone succeeds, business included, but under this Government this success shall be focused at the long term and at sustainability, not at cheap gimmicks mixed with slash and burn economic policy.
One thing is certain: This Government has provided a long-term, sustainable strategy for the economy which didn't necessarily focus on short-term gains but provides vital stability which this county desperately needed. It is this proactive thinking with proves responsible Governance for all. Having said that, we cant afford to stand still and we will continue to seek to compensate the fall of jobs in the manufacturing sector by providing adult education schemes to allow greater flexibility in the labour market. In addition to this, we must strive to make the manufacturing sector more productive by investing and embracing the technology of the 21st Century - again planning for the long term.
As we continue our journey into the 21st Century the Labour Party have provided stability for our nation through it's long term economic strategy.  The Government however must continue to invest in our country's economy to encourage businesses to succeed and create stable jobs in the United Kingdom. I believe Labour are the party to do this. With a long term strategic plan to help the nation and it's people thrive compared to the Tories plans to cut taxes and services to help the rich. Unlike the Tory Party, Labour will provide you with a fair, stable and prosperous nation for everybody, not just the elite minority.
Labour's expert economic team has saved Britain from a recession and provided the country with economic certainty and stability over many years. The government needs to continue to re-evaluate the economic reality and adjust our policies to continue this positive economic record. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor, and others, have made their determination to do so very clear, including when it comes to compensating the fall of jobs in manufacturing due to the changing nature of the advanced economies.

Agnes Hamstead

Manufacturing jobs are leaving Britain—Dyson is the latest to go—and this government is trotting out its MPs to tout its economic record. I suspect their words of self-congratulations are cold comfort to men and women who have lost their jobs and have seen their government take no action to address the issue. Instead of being proud, this government ought to be telling those in the manufacturing sector who are seeing their job prospects dwindle what it is going to do to turn the problem around. We need to see a plan that addresses the changing economy, while also ensuring re-training and new skills are provided to those who are affected by the economy of change. Instead of back-patting, this government needs to act.
Britain's economy is far from healthy. While thousands are out of work, new announcements from the manufacturing world have put many more on notice: your jobs will be lost. All of this after the Labour Government introduced the most anti-business budget we have seen in decades. It is little wonder that manufacturing businesses, a massive source of employment for many, are leaving the United Kingdom when the British Government has made clear that there is no room for them to be successful here. Despite their self-congratulatory rhetoric, the Labour Government knows, deep down, that we are in trouble. The question remains as to whether they have the ability to wright the ship.
Whilst the Tories rush to attack the Government they may be better placed remembering that the last two budgets under the Labour Government have given us an unprecedented boost in spending on education, seen taxes cut for the many rather than the top few, and seen many other laudable goals achieved. The fact that we ignored Tory calls to finance our public services via debt and deficit has been welcomed by many in economic circles as one of the reasons we are not currently joining the rest of the World in recession. The Government has already begun laying out a plan to help the manufacturing sector of the UK economy, a sector which the Tories largely ignored when they were in Government leading in part to the predicament we find ourselves in now. This Government is committed to stability, we delivered and keep doing so. This Government is committed to growth, we delivered and keep doing so. This Government is committed to making a business friendly Britain, we are delivering that with the drive for apprenticeships, more spending on education to build the workforce of tomorrow and our pledge to cut corporation tax in the next Budget. The Tories are obsessed with "now!" and short term solutions that do little but bury the problem and fudge the numbers, Labour are committed to a long term fix that makes Britain ready for the 21st Century and puts us in the best possible position going forward as a nation.

Agnes Hamstead

The Chancellor accuses the Tories of "fudging numbers". Here's a fact for the Chancellor: since 1998—the first full year of Labour government in this country—the United Kingdom lost 500,000 manufacturing jobs. In the years since, Labour has done nothing to staunch the bleeding. There's no plan for those who have lost their jobs; there's no plan for those who have given up trying to find a job. All that we're seeing from Labour MP after Labour MP is self-congratulatory "we avoided a recession" back-patting. Labour can complain all they want about those of us who criticise their failures, but if my options are to stand with Labour's abysmal record or stand with the 500,000 people who lost manufacturing jobs since Labour took office, you can bet I'll stand with workers every single time.
Michael Kirton is, in tact with his constant record, twisting numbers and facts as he likes to try and formulate an argument. The true fact is that the greatest damage to UK manufacturing was caused by his Conservative party government between 1979 and 1997 when we lost 3.5 million manufacturing jobs. This Labour government is making sure that we protect people's jobs from recession and adapt to the changing environment of the developed world's economies, helping people all the way.

Agnes Hamstead

Emily Kennedy demonstrates, yet again, a complete lack of grasp on the facts. She says I'm twisting numbers, but it's right there in black and white from the GMB Union: since 1998, 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost. Her argument when confronted with these facts? "Things were worse in the 70s". She can't run away from her government's record, so she has to go 30 years back in time to try and score a victory.

But the reality is this: she can lob cheap personal attacks all she wants. But her personal attacks do nothing for those 500,000 people who have lost their jobs under Labour's watch. So, again: instead of the back-patting and failed attempts to score some political points with 30-year old talking points, Ms. Kennedy should encourage her friend the Chancellor to tell those 500,000 people who have lost jobs how the government is going to help them. 
Only the current Chancellor of the Exchequer could read a report from the Institute of Directors that stated that his tax increases on top earners, on investments, and on corporations are impairing growth and say, "Well, the Conservatives did worse." The harsh reality for the Chancellor is that the Institute of Directors said that his approach, raising taxes that hurt industry, is not the way forward. The harsh reality is that, under his watch, the British economy is stagnating. I'm glad that we can look forward to a "business budget" coming from the Chancellor this year. We need a "business budget" that doesn't penalise growth every year - which is exactly what the Chancellor failed to deliver. For all of my disagreements with their policies, at least Mr Manning and Mr Brown understood the need to promote British businesses during their Chancellorships. It's this Chancellor that chooses to embark on wild fluctuations in policy, increasing taxes one year and then promising to lower them the next with no overarching theme to his plans. It's this Chancellor that doesn't seem to understand the need for a balanced fiscal policy that promotes macroeconomic stability. Britain and Britons do best when businesses thrive - it's high time the Government realise this.
This Government's economic policies have worked and have stabilised the economy, that is the bottom line here, developed countries have slid into recession but the UK is growing still. Only the Conservative Party could look at an economy that is growing whilst others slide into recession and think that Labour are doing poorly. Last year we lowered taxes for 90% of the population, invested record amounts into public services AND kept a budget surplus whilst the Tories demand we frittered it away. That was phase one of the plan for jobs and growth, give people more disposable income, better skills and training and pay down the debt by £4bn. This year we shall continue in that vein with further cuts to income tax, new cuts to corporation tax, continued investment in our public services and a fifth consecutive year of surplus and debt repayment.
I hate to be the one to break this to the Chancellor, but the British economy has been growing since 1993. The second quarter of this year, under his watch, was the first quarter that the economy did not grow since the third quarter of 1991. He can criticise the Conservative Party all he wants - but the fact remains that he is the captain of the ship, and this ship isn't doing to well right now. He says that the Government is leading the way in phase one of a jobs plan. If this is the plan for jobs then there are 500,000 former manufacturing workers that the Chancellor needs to speak with. He says that the Government will cut the corporation tax this year - maybe they shouldn't have raised taxes on corporations via National Insurance contributions and the apprenticeship levy last year. The Chancellor can congratulate himself all he wants on how the United Kingdom barely avoided a recession - but he better start understanding that the economic policies he launched are responsible, in part, for the current economic climate. And for the 500,000 manufacturers that are out of work, he better understand that cutting the income tax doesn't help too much when you don't have a job.
It is, of course, a good thing that terrorism did not strike Britain's shores and the economy is relatively and temporarily showing more resilience here than in France and America because of it. But it should be incredibly worrisome that this government is ready to repeat the same process by which the decline in manufacturing jobs over the past decades has been accelerated: nationalize an industry, wait for that industry to become inefficient and unable to pay for itself, and be forced to cut down the size of the workforce. And as people lose jobs and output slows, Britain will import more to meet her needs and the trade deficit will increase, leaving us with fewer and fewer choices with which to realistically stimulate the economy in the coming years. Here's an idea for the next budget: let's create growth by actually listening to what companies need and then providing. Outsourcing is the private sector's way of voting for no confidence in a government's economic plan. It's time to right the ship now, whilst there is still to do so.
The truth is the United Kingdom has lost it's competitive edge in international markets under Labour. They were given a positive trade balance of 1% GDP in 1997 and have turned it into a -3% GDP deficit with no sign of reversal. When our goods aren't able to compete with America, Europe, or Asia, that puts vulnerable industries such as manufacturing in a vice. We need a government who will actually make our economy competitive, not one that nationalises an industry whenever their policies fail. With Dr. Lynwood and Mrs. Blakesley at the helm, we will provide an alternative to Labour that prioritizes innovation, growth, and competition to properly lead Britain's economy into the 21st century.
In the recent Institute of Directors report the policies of this Government and their role in discouraging investment in the British economy were duly noted. While the Government dithers, the Conservatives proposed a concrete set of plans that are designed to open the spigots and increase the flow of capital into British businesses. Our British Investment Bank will provide the critical financing that small businesses need in order to continue to grow - and it will do so at low interest rates that small businesses can repay. Our programme for start-up loans will increase critical access to capital as innovators work to commercialise their products. The university venture funds that we've proposed will help new, high tech businesses get their start in cities across the United Kingdom - from Manchester and Durham in the North, down to Birmingham and Sheffield, and, yes, even in London, we're going to help new companies connect to the financing and support that they need. Conservatives are fighting to reverse the investment drought that's become a blight for British businesses - our plan for investment is the centre of that effort.
The Shadow Chancellor's speech just goes to show just how little the Conservative Party understand about the issues facing the British economy today. The Institute of Directors stated that if we had opened the purse strings and ran a deficit the loss of manufacturing jobs would have been greater and our economic growth slower, yet the Shadow Chancellor remains determined to run a deficit. Totalling up the Tory Party's manifesto commitments and the announcements made in the Shadow Chancellor's recent speech we see a deficit by a future Conservative Government to be no less than £11.3bn (the equivalent of a 2.5% rise in VAT or a 5% raise in the basic rate of income tax), and that is before we begin to unpick what they want to do with their National Investment Bank (uncosted), their tax breaks to big business (uncosted), or their risk mitigation scheme for investors (uncosted). Under the Conservative Party the deficit would skyrocket, our debt would become unmanageable, and our economy would collapse. They talk a good game when it comes to investment and what we should do, but this Shadow Chancellor is even more spend happy than the last and it'll be our taxes and our children that will have to pay for it.
The Chancellor fails to understand that any economic downturn, such as the one he is presiding over, requires a rebalancing of priorities. Let me be clear: restoring economic growth and increasing prosperity throughout the United Kingdom will be a top priority of the Conservative Party. We are committed, in the near term, to maintaining a policy of investing in British businesses and keeping our budget balanced - that means we will alter spending plans accordingly. Unlike the Chancellor who only knows how to tax-and-spend his way into a near recession, Conservative economic policy will focus on prudent, targeted investments that generate a high yield for British taxpayers. The full details of our policies will but put forward in our Shadow Budget, which will be fully costed and, when one looks at the spending levels, fully balanced.
Press cycle closed
Pages: 1 2