I was having a chat with a chap from Pfizer in a London bar this evening and we were discussing the impact that the loss of manufacturing jobs at the Sandwich plant might have on the local economy of Thanet.
As you know, it's rather more attractive for manufacturing companies to be out of Britain these days, for sound economic reason and my good friend, Cllr Ewen Cameron, who happens to be an economist, has come up with a number of the reasons why:
"Under the Labour Government, employment in manufacturing has fallen by over 40%. In real terms, over 1.5 million manufacturing jobs have disappeared in the UK since 1997 and in the three months to July this year alone, a further 43,000 manufacturing jobs were lost.
Times have changed radically since we used to be one of the greatest production hubs of the planet and only 10.7% of the workforce are now employed in manufacturing.
A local issue involves the Irish Republic (ROI) which is doing rather better than, these days for a number of good reasons. First among these is its business-friendly tax regime, where tax on business profits is only 12.5% but here it's in the UK is 30%, Where would you site your manufacturing business?
The total tax burden in ROI is only 30.5% of GDP, compared to 37.2% in the UK, so where would you prefer to be paying taxes?
From the 2005 OECD data the tax burden in the UK on the same measure is now over 40% of GDP) and last year, Ireland achieved economic growth of 6%, compared to only 2.7% for the UK and average individual wealth in ROI overtook the UK
The UK, under Gordon Brown, is the only major economy in the OECD to have increased total tax burdens over the least five years."
So there you have it, good reasons why Pfizer and other big companies are drifting away from the UK, which is dangerously reliant on oil revenues and the financial services sector which powers a large chunk of our economy and which is now built on huge levels of personal debt and an overinflated publc sector workforce; producing nothing of value that we can sell to anyone else.
Next Monday, we might hear Gordon Brown call a snap General Election before the crisis predicted by a number of city watchers, starts to appear in a UK economy which still appears stong. With the UK "no longer at a world class level" in regard to graduate output (OECD) and with school class sizes ranking it behind Slovenia, where, I wonder will all tomorrow's jobs come from under New Labour?