As we report good news from West Midland producers, the British Chambers of Commerce has predicted that UK GDP would shrink by 0.4% in 2012 and called for government intervention.
A short four years ago – just before the economic downturn – the Post reported that Birmingham Chamber of Commerce outraged some of its members joining the city council and Manufacturing Advisory Service West Midlands by sending them a letter urging local firms – where to consider offshoring.
Russell Luckock, head of Birmingham presswork group AE Harris, said he had received a big response to the letter and firms were far from happy by what was being proposed. “I just don’t know what’s got into them (the Chamber) – they are trying to defend the indefensible,” he said. “We feel this is the wrong time to be proposing something like this because the tide in manufacturing is turning.”
He added, prophetically: “People are fed up with Chinese prices and quality and, as a result, a lot of work is returning to the area” – and this is happening – see Professor Bailey of Coventry University on “onshoring”.
Kirsty Davies, now managing director of Smethwick’s Professional Polishing Services feared that the strategy BCC advocated would take work away from the region, adding: “Once you do that you will never get it back. It may be old fashioned but I think firms have a moral duty to protect their employees and exporting manufacturing abroad is no way to do that”.
Local MP Caroline Spelman comments on the August 22nd report by the Manufacturing Advisory Service that manufacturing SMEs in England are reporting increased sales and predicting future growth despite recent reports of an industry downturn.
Praising this as ‘magnificent’, she adds that many companies are small and some family-owned:
”They have had to work against the tide of recession and many have not found investment finance easy to come by. That is why the success of local SMEs is all the more remarkable.”