Midlands hit most by manufacturing decline

06-09-2006

The midlands has been worst affected by the long-term decline of Britain's manufacturing sector, an analysis of declining unemployment levels has found.

General union GMB has released statistics showing an overall decline in the number of manufacturing workers from 4.7 million in 1994-5 to 3.6 million today in an attempt to encourage the government to invest more in UK manufacturing.

Some regions like East Anglia lost just 81,000 jobs in the same period. But the west midlands' job losses in the manufacturing sector amounted to 184,400 from an original total of 629,000 while the east midlands saw its manufacturing jobs slashed by 118,900 from 485,000 to 366,100.

Lancashire was the county with the greatest decline in manufacturing workers, seeing a fall from 116,000 to 76,500. Overall the north of England was also badly hit, seeing a total drop of 173,100.

"Manufacturing jobs are vital to Britain’s economy. Public authorities must draw on public procurement to boost manufacturing jobs. The Government needs to bring contracts forward to retain the skills of manufacturing workers who are moving to other industries. The Government must take positive action with responsible decisions.

"Greater emphasis is needed on sectors like the ship building industry if Britain is to have a future in manufacturing," Paul Kenny, the GMB general secretary, will say in a speech in Newcastle upon Tyne later today.

"The government needs to bring contracts forward to retain the skills of manufacturing workers who are moving to other industries [and] must take positive action with responsible decisions."

Britain's manufacturing sector is currently undergoing a period of recovery thanks to renewed orders from the eurozone and the US, but economic commentators warn that muted domestic demand means there is no guarantee the present recovery will continue in the future.


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