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I went to the Achema exibition in Germany last week. This is the biggest engineering show in Europe for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The UK once had the biggest show with Eurochem but this has faded away.

I was surprised to discover the huge number of equipment companies that used to have offices in the UK but have now relocated to France, Switzerland, Spain, Holland or Germany. When you ask for details of their UK agent, they give you a telephone number and explain that the person concerned works from home. I must have seen hundreds of companies who have done this.

I can see three possible motives for this development.

(1) The decline in UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry has reduced us to the status of minor player.

(2) Business rates here are now a strong disincentive for smaller companies.

(3) UK property is too expensive.

(4) Red tape

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I can see three possible motives for this development.

(1) The decline in UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry has reduced us to the status of minor player.

(2) Business rates here are now a strong disincentive for smaller companies.

(3) UK property is too expensive.

(4) Red tape

I see that maths wasn't your favourite subject!

You're right, you quoted three _possible_ 'motives' - that's (2)-(4).

The real reason, though, is likely to be (1) - "The decline in UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry has reduced us to the status of minor player."

How does it feel to be a minor player in a minor player?

p

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I see that maths wasn't your favourite subject!

You're right, you quoted three _possible_ 'motives' - that's (2)-(4).

The real reason, though, is likely to be (1) - "The decline in UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry has reduced us to the status of minor player."

How does it feel to be a minor player in a minor player? p

Harsh but true. It should have been 4. In relation to your final question, it does not hurt much from an individual perspective. Most people with a science or engineering background can stay gainfully employed without too much effort. For 'UK PLC' however the consequences are much more serious.

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I went to the Achema exibition in Germany last week. This is the biggest engineering show in Europe for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The UK once had the biggest show with Eurochem but this has faded away.

I was surprised to discover the huge number of equipment companies that used to have offices in the UK but have now relocated to France, Switzerland, Spain, Holland or Germany. When you ask for details of their UK agent, they give you a telephone number and explain that the person concerned works from home. I must have seen hundreds of companies who have done this.

I can see three possible motives for this development.

(1) The decline in UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry has reduced us to the status of minor player.

(2) Business rates here are now a strong disincentive for smaller companies.

(3) UK property is too expensive.

(4) Red tape

I think you have a terrible understanding of how the pharm industry works in the brave new era. It's all who you know. See below.

Paul Drayson

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I think you have a terrible understanding of how the pharm industry works in the brave new era. It's all who you know. See below.

Paul Drayson

Good post. In terms of respectable companies, Ireland have now overtaken the UK for Pharmaceutical manufacturing.

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I can see three possible motives for this development.

(1) The decline in UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry has reduced us to the status of minor player.

(2) Business rates here are now a strong disincentive for smaller companies.

(3) UK property is too expensive.

(4) Red tape

(5) Eurozone conveniences (common currency, no pond to cross, etc)

(6) Keen offers and incentives by European towns to attract business.

(7) Decline of competent potential staff as the old-style educated folks give way to the fruits of pedagogic folly in the 70's & 80's. Education of the midleclass is far broader and less mathphobic on the continent than it is here.

Edited by Cinnamon

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Good post. In terms of respectable companies, Ireland have now overtaken the UK for Pharmaceutical manufacturing.

...because of the crappy environmental protections that allow them to loot the freshwater supplies.

Look at where they are situated - the South West - (like Intel in Leixlip - can we drain the local rivers please?)

As soon as the ground water is polluted (and useless) they'll be off.

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...because of the crappy environmental protections that allow them to loot the freshwater supplies.

Look at where they are situated - the South West - (like Intel in Leixlip - can we drain the local rivers please?)

As soon as the ground water is polluted (and useless) they'll be off.

They are situated on the coast and the waste water from a modern pharmaceutical plant is orders of magnitude cleaner than domestic waste which contains a cocktail of cleaning chemicals.

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Also, look at the threats now being directed at Glaxo, shareholders and their banks etc, would you like to locate in the UK? Any tenuous connection is enough, even running a small pharma company will place you in the crosshairs.

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Also, look at the threats now being directed at Glaxo, shareholders and their banks etc, would you like to locate in the UK? Any tenuous connection is enough, even running a small pharma company will place you in the crosshairs.

The blame lies with the UK Government, universities and engineering institutions. If you really knew how you would be treated as an engineer in the UK would you bother to get an engineering degree, or would you get a degree in finance or carpet fitting? An excellent article in the WSJ highlighted the plight of European Universities and gave a very plausible explanation for why so few are able to compete with the likes of MIT, Harvard etc. Strangely the world rankings show only the UK as having presence in the top 25 (oxbridge and Imperial) with the main reason the lack of private funding. If I had my time again I would not have done an engineering degree and I would strongly advise youngsters to look very carefully at the pay, working conditions and opportunities for engineers in the UK. Of course employers will given them a rather different story.

Edited by bpw

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The blame lies with the UK Government, universities and engineering institutions. If you really knew how you would be treated as an engineer in the UK would you bother to get an engineering degree, or would you get a degree in finance or carpet fitting? An excellent article in the WSJ highlighted the plight of European Universities and gave a very plausible explanation for why so few are able to compete with the likes of MIT, Harvard etc. Strangely the world rankings show only the UK as having presence in the top 25 (oxbridge and Imperial) with the main reason the lack of private funding. If I had my time again I would not have done an engineering degree and I would strongly advise youngsters to look very carefully at the pay, working conditions and opportunities for engineers in the UK. Of course employers will given them a rather different story.

But of course, the UK is run by a bunch senior civil servants that have all studied classics and humanities and the City is run by a bunch of money men that have nothing but contempt for industry, going right back to the Slater Walker days. The media loves the arts because it's so subjective, everyone can have an opinion and everybodies point is equally valid. If only such POMO bull$hit applied to engineering and science.

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But of course, the UK is run by a bunch senior civil servants that have all studied classics and humanities and the City is run by a bunch of money men that have nothing but contempt for industry, going right back to the Slater Walker days. The media loves the arts because it's so subjective, everyone can have an opinion and everybodies point is equally valid. If only such POMO bull$hit applied to engineering and science.

hence some of the problems we now face, I was told many years ago that Political correctness and subjective thinking was a plot to destroy this nation, I believe it now

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Slightly relevant:

In March this year I popped down to ‘CeBit’ (the big technology show) in Hanover (Germany). Having been to many technology exhibitions in the UK I can only say I was gob smacked at the scale of the thing. The event was say (about) 40 Times larger :blink: than Earl’s Court Olympia with extra spare space to spare. All the internationals were well represented (with huge exhibits) and loads of local R&D talent on show.

Major city, great infrastructure: roads, airport, hotels, transport, etc.

Remind me again why anyone would build anything in Britain?

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I went to the Achema exibition in Germany last week. This is the biggest engineering show in Europe for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The UK once had the biggest show with Eurochem but this has faded away.

I was surprised to discover the huge number of equipment companies that used to have offices in the UK but have now relocated to France, Switzerland, Spain, Holland or Germany. When you ask for details of their UK agent, they give you a telephone number and explain that the person concerned works from home. I must have seen hundreds of companies who have done this.

I can see three possible motives for this development.

(1) The decline in UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry has reduced us to the status of minor player.

(2) Business rates here are now a strong disincentive for smaller companies.

(3) UK property is too expensive.

(4) Red tape

I totally agree, but it has nothing to do with business rates, property or red tape. Anyone who has worked in Europe will know that pay is higher, company tax is higher and companies have to abide to very strict employment laws.

If you look at Britain and look at a cross section of its work force you will realise why we are in such a state. Its down to skills, training and management and Britain has a poor record for all of them.

Universities have dropped vocational degrees in exchange for cheaper modular courses and are now failing to match course content with skills needed in the real world. For example The environment agency now has a skills shortage and is having to import scientists from Germany.

We aren't training people in the trades as we're not giving employers the incentives to train new people. 1000s of students have technical certificates but with no vocational experience to get NVQs. Again we import the workers to resolve the situation.

We still have a massive class divide with many MDs still getting jobs based on status and not ability. Marconi a classic example of how one dizzy toff can ruin a telecoms giant.

If you're a big company looking at places to base your company the location and a skilled work force are very important factors. The UK is seperated from Europe by the sea and therefore we need to make sure that we make up for geography by having well educated and skilled workforce.

Yes the UK is expensive but so is Germany, Holland etc

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I agree with many of the comments on this thread. My original post however referred to small companies who function as sales and service agents for specialist products. For these small niche companies, the cost of running an office/workshop in the UK has become an issue and is exacerbated by the rapidly shrinking industry.

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But of course, the UK is run by a bunch senior civil servants that have all studied classics and humanities and the City is run by a bunch of money men that have nothing but contempt for industry, going right back to the Slater Walker days. The media loves the arts because it's so subjective, everyone can have an opinion and everybodies point is equally valid. If only such POMO bull$hit applied to engineering and science.

I basically agree with everything you say. There is no respect for engineering talent and invention in this country, unlike places like Germany (which may be a bit too obsessive about them).

There seems to be this attitude that making and selling things is a bit, well, lower class, please use the tradesman's entrance. And if we have to do such demeaning things, well, it can't be that difficult can it? Those people just aren't educated like us, despite all that "jargon" nonsense they spout to try to confuse us.

Anyone remember the brilliant hoax perpetrated by the physicist Alan Sokal on the bullsh*t "intellectual" establishment?

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/

Wonderful stuff.

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I happen to think that costs derived from artificial sacristies in land, property and planning permission are a tax levied on business and the people. This ‘tax’ does nothing to improve our government services and simply raises the cost of living, driving useful work elsewhere.

They say Europeans pay higher taxes; I’ll let you know when I get my first pay cheque in a few weeks. :ph34r:

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Slightly relevant:

In March this year I popped down to ‘CeBit’ (the big technology show) in Hanover (Germany). Having been to many technology exhibitions in the UK I can only say I was gob smacked at the scale of the thing. The event was say (about) 40 Times larger :blink: than Earl’s Court Olympia with extra spare space to spare. All the internationals were well represented (with huge exhibits) and loads of local R&D talent on show.

Major city, great infrastructure: roads, airport, hotels, transport, etc.

Germany is very decentralised, quite the opposite of the UK. Earl’s Court is just a small shed by comparison, Excel isn't much better, people laugh at the NEC but that's about the largest thing we have.

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Anyone remember the brilliant hoax perpetrated by the physicist Alan Sokal on the bullsh*t "intellectual" establishment?

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/

Wonderful stuff.

Yes! Of course they then tried to turn it on its head, in the next edition of their journal they tried to argue that the utter tripe he published was actually valid and had some hidden depth unrealised by the scheming professor! Such intellectual dishonesty would certainly make Orwell shudder.

There was a similar thing in the 1970's, a bored newspaper team decided to write the most tawdry pastiche of a novel entitled "Naked Came The Stranger" along the lines of "desperate housewives", each writer was alloacted a chapter and they tried to out do each other when it came to tired cliches and the bloody awful plot. It became a bestseller, of course.

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I basically agree with everything you say. There is no respect for engineering talent and invention in this country, unlike places like Germany (which may be a bit too obsessive about them).

I had a bunch of friends who were civil engineers, each with around 8 years experience. Got paid less than a bus driver!

After 6 years of studying and a year of temping, I eventually got a job as a research tech in a leukemia lab. I left after 9 months as I realised that i would never be able to make ends meet on the princley sum of £13,500 per annum.

Theres always this horseshot line trotted out by the government that we need more scientists and engineers but if so, why are they paid so poorly? And why are so many Unis closing down their chemistry faculties?

The problem with this country is that it does not reward the sacrifice that investing in your future should bring. I should have left school at 16, arsed around on the dole for a couple of years then become a tube driver. I would have been £100,000s better off! <_<

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There was a similar thing in the 1970's, a bored newspaper team decided to write the most tawdry pastiche of a novel entitled "Naked Came The Stranger" along the lines of "desperate housewives", each writer was alloacted a chapter and they tried to out do each other when it came to tired cliches and the bloody awful plot. It became a bestseller, of course.

Old truism, no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the public.

Oh how that is manifest now, the celebration of ignorance, stupidity and tawdryness that is prevalent across the media.

To topic, "make things?", how utterly passe, especially nasty, dirty things like chemicals. We don't need those do we.

No, lawyers, HR executives, spiritualists, lifestyle coaches, personal trainers, diversity coordinators, five a day advisers, these and myriad more such occupations are the future.

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To topic, "make things?", how utterly passe, especially nasty, dirty things like chemicals.

Indeed. We shouldnt use all these horrible chemicals. We should use organic, fair trade herbal subsitutes!

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The blame lies with the UK Government, universities and engineering institutions. If you really knew how you would be treated as an engineer in the UK would you bother to get an engineering degree, or would you get a degree in finance or carpet fitting? An excellent article in the WSJ highlighted the plight of European Universities and gave a very plausible explanation for why so few are able to compete with the likes of MIT, Harvard etc. Strangely the world rankings show only the UK as having presence in the top 25 (oxbridge and Imperial) with the main reason the lack of private funding. If I had my time again I would not have done an engineering degree and I would strongly advise youngsters to look very carefully at the pay, working conditions and opportunities for engineers in the UK. Of course employers will given them a rather different story.

We really do seem to undervalue practical skills like engineering. I seem to remember some government policy of paying 'super-engineers' 100 grand but engineers on the Continent, who are valued as vital professionals, probably wouldn't get out of bed for that. Well, that might be over-egging it - I don't have the figures to back that up. But we seem to like looking down on people who do really important jobs here.

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We really do seem to undervalue practical skills like engineering. I seem to remember some government policy of paying 'super-engineers' 100 grand but engineers on the Continent, who are valued as vital professionals, probably wouldn't get out of bed for that. Well, that might be over-egging it - I don't have the figures to back that up. But we seem to like looking down on people who do really important jobs here.

I believe others have analysed this in the Historical context.

Those in the past, the 18th and 19th centuries who profited from the Industrial Revolution, realised that their offspring might be better accepted by the Establishment if they entered such as the Law and Politics, rather than pursue the "dirty" work of manufacturing.

We still suffer from this.

Lawyers didn't manufacture my laptop.

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  • 301 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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