Below is the text of Mr Major’s article on industry and manufacturing, published on Friday 12th March 1993.
British manufacturing is vital for our economic future. And British industry is performing far better than most people realise. Time after time, businessmen tell me of international successes that somehow don’t make the headlines. Who is providing the steel to build the new rail terminal at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris? A British company in Bolton. Which country is exporting Nissan cars to Japan? Britain is. The statistics tell the same story. Manufacturing productivity is up in Britain; so is manufacturing investment; so are manufactured exports -
Of course, we have a long way to go. There will be setbacks along the way; and -
I want to see every sector of the economy enjoy recovery. We have a strong service sector. The City of London in particular is a huge generator of export earnings for Britain. Before the 1980s, there was a tendency to undervalue such contributions. Even the name we gave to them -
In the 1980s, we came to realise services were a big plus to the British economy. But making things matters, too. To earn Britain’s way in the world, we also need a strong, competitive and productive manufacturing base.
Private enterprise -
Its first responsibility is to make sure the fundamentals are right. By that I mean -
With the labour market reforms set under way by Margaret Thatcher, and pursued again in this Parliament, we won our way to industrial peace just in time to take advantage of the huge opportunity presented by the European Single Market. Manufacturing investment has flooded into Britain. Companies like Nissan, Toyota and Sony have brought new jobs and confidence to British manufacturing.
With the unique version of the Treaty we secured at Maastricht, we have achieved the best of both worlds for inward investors: a Britain inside Europe and outside the Social Chapter. If others want to add costs that make their industry uncompetitive, that’s their business -
Our European policy is the second element in our strategy to create the right conditions for British business. It leads to the third, which we are pursuing in Brussels, Whitehall -
We have made a start, at Maastricht, in putting the brakes on Brussels intervention. But too much regulation is home-
Deregulation doesn’t just help our big, established companies. It clears the obstacles in the way of the new ones that will create the jobs of the future -
The fourth strand in our strategy is to build new bridges between British research and its industrial application. That is why I have appointed William Waldegrave to take responsibility for science, research and development at Cabinet level; and he will be publishing a White Paper shortly on the links between research and wealth creation.
The fifth -
But we cannot rest content with raw numbers. I have spoken before of the need to create, through vocational qualifications, another ladder of opportunity for young people. John Patten and Gillian Shephard are looking across the board at education and training for 16-
This will help to break down some of the ingrained, senseless prejudices that have directed too many able young people away from industry, commerce and manufacturing. We need to build up craft skills and practical training, as well as enterprise and business initiative.
Harold Macmillan once said: “Exporting is fun”. Maybe; but in the competitive world of the 1990s, it is also very hard work. Government can’t export for business; but it can help to open doors. And that is the sixth strand in my strategy to help build up our manufacturing base.
In Europe, we have created a Single market of 340 million people -
In the Autumn Statement, Norman Lamont helped by providing extra export credits. And when I went to India recently, I took a group of top British businessmen with me -
The Government will do all it can to help industry fight its battles for Britain. But I know where the real credit lies behind every success: with the businessmen, the engineers, workers at every level in the companies concerned. Together, Government and industry can make a reality of my ambition -