There can be no doubt that manufacturing, and productive industry in the broadest sense, must play a critical role in any rebuilding of the UK economy. The UK has benefi ted from a strong manufacturing base in the past and can again become a major world player if a more fertile environment well-matched to the needs of manufacturing industry is established. The recovery of the fi nancial services sector following the recession is important, but the nation can no longer be dependent on expectations of that sector’s continued growth and resilience – or be held hostage to its excesses.
The growth of other business services, particularly those referred to as ‘knowledge-intensive’, is also welcome, but their scale is insuffi cient to be a substitute for manufacturing for the foreseeable future. A return to a balanced economy with productive industry at its heart is the only realistic option if the UK is to prosper in an increasingly competitive world.