progress is not the elimination of struggle, but rather a change in its terms’ - Aneurin Bevan

industrial strategy will reduce deficit

There should be a law to ensure that whenever anyone talks about deficit reduction, they first of all mention why the deficit ballooned in the first place - namely the bail-out of the banking sector. This would be my one infringement on the freedom of the press (unless you would call breaking up the Murdoch monopoly an infringement of press freedom...)

Oddly for the Tories, now a party almost entirely Eurosceptic, there has been a warning by the European Commission that the UK government must do more to reduce it's budget deficit. Which stance for the Tories to take? Cheer on the Eurocrats for meddling in UK affairs...? It is a tricky one.

The assumption that you can cut your way out of a crisis is dangerous - this is something that the Liberal Democrats have now followed Labour in acknowledging:
"If any Government tries to cut back too soon, it will aggravate unemployment, making the deficit worse and compounding the country’s problems," said the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor.
Only by securing investment in the transition to a low-carbon economy will public finances be stabilised - so the tax revenue from workers and enterprises in a growing manufacturing sector will make up for the slump in financial services.

If anything comes out of the Tories attempt to politicise an industrial dispute at British Airways, it might be the reminder that while the Tory party is funded by billionaires and bankers, Labour is funded by members of affiliated trade unions who decide to pay the political levy, and by party members - people who have more of an interest in ensuring that the economy recovers than people who keep threatening to move to Switzerland if we try and make them obey the law...

The Strategic Investment Fund, announced at the last budget in April '09, demonstrates Labour's commitment to an industrial strategy to help create good jobs in the UK. This is how debts will be repaid:

The government's much-vaunted "low-carbon industrial strategy" is set to receive a boost on Wednesday with the announcement of a long-awaited £170m funding package for the British nuclear manufacturer, Sheffield Forgemasters.

The company, which has been in funding negotiations for more than six months, has secured the last remaining £20m from bank loans, the Guardian has learnt.

It means Sheffield Forgemasters will be able to build a 15,000-tonne press to make large forgings used in modern reactors being built in the UK and overseas.

The business secretary, Lord Mandelson, and the energy secretary, Ed Miliband, will travel to Sheffield, along with the business minister, Pat McFadden, to make the announcement on Wednesday.
Boosting the hi-tech industrial economy in the UK will become a key political battleground in the run-up to the general election after the credit crunch exposed the dangers of becoming over-reliant on financial services. Official data recently showed that in its first decade in power Labour had allowed the manufacturing sector to shrink at a quicker rate than under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
In response, Mandelson, who has been heavily involved in the complex negotiations, has been championing a new policy of "industrial activism". Ministers say that without more government support for industry, the tens of billions of pounds of new reactors and wind turbines planned to reduce carbon emissions would have to be imported. British manufacturers and workers would miss out.

To secure the funding, the government has pledged £65m in soft loans, with £35m from the European Investment Bank. The nuclear reactor firm Westinghouse is paying £50m upfront for its orders.

The deal also provides a much-needed boost to the north-east, where traditional manufacturers such as Corus have been hammered by the recession and which has one of the highest UK jobless rates. Mandelson wants to create a hub of low-carbon manufacturers in the region with ties to Sheffield University. He recently opened a new £25m research facility in Rotherham for Britain's civil nuclear industry where Sheffield Forgemasters can work with other UK firms in the supply chain.

Dougie Rooney, of the Unite union, said: "The only hope for the nation in terms of being able to pay off its debts is for the UK's engineering industry to become a global supply-chain player supplying components and equipment for new energy projects."

The Sheffield firm is one of only a few around the world that can make the special forgings for reactors. There is increasing political pressure on nuclear companies to source as many components as possible from the UK. The deal will create 150 jobs directly, but thousands more could be created in the wider nuclear supply chain as a result, according to Unite.


  1. Listen if a company here can make it, then India Pakistan and China will make it cheaper and in some cases better. Anyone who thinks India is now a back water working in tiny little dirty factories better go take a look, the new steel plants in India and the workers are far better then our people. If the Forge master need to make a new press it will more then likely be made in China.

    We are in the shit because over the years we allowed our industry to be sold off bought and left to rot, now we have sod all left.

    Labour are again looking at the financial sector to save the country sadly it's heading for another risk period in which this government would pump in billions to keep it going.

    Brown has nothing to offer, the question does the Tories and I doubt it, the next twenty years will see the UK come out of the deficit or we will sink to become a piss poor country with a large begging bowel I also think we are now seeing the end of the Labour party as a party of the working class, it might make it as a second Tory party, but a Labour party do not make me laugh

  2. Agree with @Robert.

    "We are in the shit because over the years we allowed our industry to be sold off bought and left to rot, now we have sod all left". It is not only our industry we have sold, but centuries of academic excellence. The booby trap is wide open.

    The article reads "Mandelson wants to create a hub of low-carbon manufacturers in the region with ties to Sheffield University."

    The humorous nature of his choice of University is lost on Mandelson. The reputation of Sheffield University as a reliable scientific institution has already been critically injured because its interaction with industry has been touched with that rot. Scientific conjuring tricks to please industry have placed lives at risk, and have made Sheffield University a lesser place.

    UK Ltd., needs traditional Universities, authentic science and an industrial base to match. Conjuring tricks from Mandelson where industry and universities become the same have passed their sell by date. It will not work for more than the five minutes industry will take to twig that it can get a better level of this type of University support in India or China as well.