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The Sh**e We're In - We're Not Coming Out Smelling Of Roses

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When Thatcher came to power, manufacturing accounted for almost 30% of Britain's national income and employed 6.8 million people. By the time Brown left Downing Street last May, it was down to just over 11% of the economy, with a workforce of 2.5 million.

So OK manufacturing as a % of GDP has fallen by two thirds.

But GDP in real terms over that time has doubled

( see https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AonYZs4MzlZbcGhOdG0zTG1EWkVPX1k1VWR6LTd1U3c#gid=1 )

So actually manufacturing overall is down less than a third.

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As others have pointed out still 7th in the World. Does anyone really think that keeping the level of manufacturing we had before would have done us good ? I don't.

In fact I think the general split in sectors across the UK is not bad compared to most countries. Too much finance and too much public sector but apart from that - fairly reasonable in my very limited understanding of things.

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As others have pointed out still 7th in the World. Does anyone really think that keeping the level of manufacturing we had before would have done us good ? I don't.

In fact I think the general split in sectors across the UK is not bad compared to most countries. Too much finance and too much public sector but apart from that - fairly reasonable in my very limited understanding of things.

7th in the world is meaningless on its own. We need to judge by how much manufacturing contributes to GDP per head. There are many smaller nations which have higher proportions of manufacturing per head. Absolute totals are a nonsense. The fact is we don't manufacture enough in the UK to pay our way in the world at the moment and keep the standard of living that we want.

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I do, I work from home writing software, the UK produces a lot of computer software which doesn't appear in the manufacturing totals.

Hi. For a company or self employed? What business area?

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7th in the world is meaningless on its own. We need to judge by how much manufacturing contributes to GDP per head. There are many smaller nations which have higher proportions of manufacturing per head. Absolute totals are a nonsense. The fact is we don't manufacture enough in the UK to pay our way in the world at the moment and keep the standard of living that we want.

I don't really understand that this is a "fact". We "do" stuff and export it. Examples of stuff include :

Agriculture.

Mining.

Manufacturing.

Services (say financial and software writing).

Tourism (effectively).

We need to "do" enough in all of these areas to balance the goods we import in order to be long term sustainable. The relative balance of these areas is another question entirely.

I don't see it as a "fact" that Britain actually has to manufacture anything. In fact it would be stupid to focus everything on manufacturing if there was more money to be made elsewhere.

The case for manufacturing is more a long term strategic one, namely having a manufactuirng base (and indeed a well diversified economy) is useful if one of the other sectors goes downhill (it makes you less vunerable) and also is useful in times of war.

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What you say is true, but our constant trade deficit shows that we are living in an unsustainable manner, as we keep importing more than we export. We have tried to grow services enough to fill the gap over the last 20 years, but it has not worked. There are only so many services that will be done in the UK which will not be done cheaper or better elsewhere. The reason we need to do more manufacturing is that we could have the skills and ability to do more, but it has not been encouraged or rewarded in the last few decades.

Edited by BalancedBear

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7th in the world is meaningless on its own. We need to judge by how much manufacturing contributes to GDP per head. There are many smaller nations which have higher proportions of manufacturing per head. Absolute totals are a nonsense. The fact is we don't manufacture enough in the UK to pay our way in the world at the moment and keep the standard of living that we want.

Really ? Well this was a point I made in response to the common, that you hear ALL THE TIME, that we in the UK make NOTHING these days.

So sorry - but the 7th point is far from meaningless on its own. In fact completely the opposite.

There are only 6 countries in the entire World that make more than we do - yet we don't make anything in the UK anymore. :lol:

Come on - that is quite frankly laughable. Do you not agree ?

What you say is true, but our constant trade deficit shows that we are living in an unsustainable manner, as we keep importing more than we export. We have tried to grow services enough to fill the gap over the last 20 years, but it has not worked. There are only so many services that will be done in the UK which will not be done cheaper or better elsewhere. The reason we need to do more manufacturing is that we could have the skills and ability to do more, but it has not been encouraged or rewarded in the last few decades.

Our debt is unsustainable. That is the problem. Our split of sectors is actually quite good IMO. Far better than most other countries out there.

We import more than we export - you are focussing on the export part as the problem - I think the import part is the problem. And I think the massive debt we havein this country backs that up pretty well.

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Really ? Well this was a point I made in response to the common, that you hear ALL THE TIME, that we in the UK make NOTHING these days.

I guess the point of the article was not about the absolute value but the relative decline.

There has been a decline in manufacturing in all major economies - this decline in the UK has been the most impressive.

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Really ? Well this was a point I made in response to the common, that you hear ALL THE TIME, that we in the UK make NOTHING these days.

So sorry - but the 7th point is far from meaningless on its own. In fact completely the opposite.

There are only 6 countries in the entire World that make more than we do - yet we don't make anything in the UK anymore. :lol:

Come on - that is quite frankly laughable. Do you not agree ?

Our debt is unsustainable. That is the problem. Our split of sectors is actually quite good IMO. Far better than most other countries out there.

We import more than we export - you are focussing on the export part as the problem - I think the import part is the problem. And I think the massive debt we havein this country backs that up pretty well.

I don't think I have ever said that we don't make anything, just that we don't make enough, and we make a lot less in relative terms than we used to. Sure there are people who say we make nothing, but that is of course rubbish, just as you highlight.

My point is though that absolute numbers are not that important. Ireland is in the worlds top 20 export nations (below the UK in your ranking) but per head is far higher than the UK - which is more important. Switzerland is also a great export nation, but a small country, so again per head it exports far more than we do, but is below 7th!

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I guess the point of the article was not about the absolute value but the relative decline.

There has been a decline in manufacturing in all major economies - this decline in the UK has been the most impressive.

Yes but clearly for the size of country we are - we started off very highly - so a large fall in comparison to others is probably not as big a deal as it sounds.

We used to make absolutely loads for a fairly small place - now we make a fair bit for a fairly small place.

I don't think I have ever said that we don't make anything, just that we don't make enough, and we make a lot less in relative terms than we used to. Sure there are people who say we make nothing, but that is of course rubbish, just as you highlight.

My point is though that absolute numbers are not that important. Ireland is in the worlds top 20 export nations (below the UK in your ranking) but per head is far higher than the UK - which is more important. Switzerland is also a great export nation, but a small country, so again per head it exports far more than we do, but is below 7th!

Fair enough - I know - but this very thread started off with it and many others do too.

I see the ratio point - however is it important how much you 'make' per head of population ? It depends on how much value you put on manufacturing. I definately value it higher than some other sectors - however I am not sure it is the be all and end all. I would class self sufficiency as more important than any sector of the economy.

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I don't think I have ever said that we don't make anything, just that we don't make enough, and we make a lot less in relative terms than we used to. Sure there are people who say we make nothing, but that is of course rubbish, just as you highlight.

What don't we make enough of? A good manufacturing sector is great but if it's churning out short-lasting pointless crap then ultimately it's a damaging waste of space and resources whatever economic benefits it gives. Luckily for us we're not much in the cheap tat side.

Unless manufacturing shrinks a hell of a lot further then we'll inevitably import more than we export, simply due to lack of easy to exploit natural resources compared to elsewhere (most of our mineral wealth, for example, would be too small-scale for modern industry and the easy-to-get-at parts have mostly already been heavily exploited).

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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