Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Bit of Blarney

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?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

While you have taxpayer funded organisations like Quangos, multi layered councils and of course Charter Trustees who do not make a positive contribution, or in fact any real contribution, to the taxpayer's wellbeing or the country's profitability of course taxes will be high.
Anyone who participates and benefits ( employees and hangers on) in the those organisations must shoulder the blame.

Anonymous said...

Sadly with the Conservatives pledging to maintain Labour levels of spending all I see is further decline.

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting then that spending should be cut? If so, what area of public spending are you referring to?

Corporate willingness to move manufacturing is motivated by profit,nothing else.
If we had legislation to prevent firms moving their production en masse to countries where people work for virtually nothing, then we could have our cake (or tax) and eat it.

DrMoores said...

I sense a separate agenda here.

So when I spend hours of my time, for free, as a Charter Trustee, wading through meetings, charity requests and proposals for activities to promote the town, you are suggesting I'm some kind of freeloading parasite? Correct?

It's not perfect but I don't see any better suggestions for discharging the duties involved. Perhaps we should just give up? Is that what you want?

Anonymous said...

Any organisation which is lossmaking and only survives due to heavy subsidy by the taxpayer has to have a good reason to continue.
If an organisation costs in excess of 100,000 a year in expenses and only raises a tenth of that amount for charity should it still exist?
Should not TDC be promoting the towns of Thanet?
Most residents are unaware of the Charter Trustees and even those who are aware of them have little knowledge about them, the residents have little day to day contact with them in that role, although they may contact them in their role as TDC Cllrs.
How much do other readers here know of their activities?

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting then that spending should be cut? If so, what area of public spending are you referring to?

Where do you want to start? Welfare would be my first port of call. Bring in some of the ideas pioneered in Wisconsin to get people on welfare back into work. Then look at the numbers of non jobs which have proliferated under labour. Just how many outreach counsellors do we really need? After that we could take a look at the NHS and start the long overdue process of privatisation. We could save a cool 140 million pounds by dropping the stupid idea of giving pregnant women £120 to spend on booze and fags...oh silly me I mean oily fish and broccoli. There are plenty of savings to be had, we just need someone with the gumption to do it.

Anonymous said...

Legislating or regulating to protect jobs has never worked, and never will. Industries and services are global these days, and will simply go somewhere else. Even my own Firm, which employs 60 people, could easily outsource document production (a.k.a typing) to India, and save a good deal of money (we haven’t).

An example is our next-nearest neighbour, France. Idiotic job “protection” schemes there have resulted in an unemployment rate amongst under 25s of over 30%. The ambition of three out of four of those youngsters is to work for the Government.

Old Labour was about Big State, and Tax-and-Spend. New Labour is simply the same thing, with racing stripes and even more debt.

Cllr Ewen Cameron

Michael Child said...

I wonder if any of you good people actually manufacture anything, which is what is surely the main point here i.e. the difference between finishing the working day with a heap of product which is ultimately what pays for everything manufactured that we consume and finishing the working day without.

I am not saying here that other types of work are not valuable, just that perhaps people and businesses that actually produce the material things that finance all other types of work should be accorded some special status.

I am also not certain that the problem is any longer resoluble by individual governments or left versus right policy most substantial manufactures being global and most complex manufactured items being made from components sourced all over the world.

Certainly any changes to taxation that were enough to reverse the trend of decreasing manufacturing in the UK would have to be draconian, probably more so than any political party would dare to make.

As a very small manufacturer I have found that it is not possible to tell which county the paper ink staples and card I use come from, so it is not even possible for me to assist other UK manufactures.

Anonymous said...

Anybody want to discuss how Thatcher completely destroyed our merchant navy?

Anonymous said...

I left school in 1981 and went to Ramsgate Tech where I got 5 O'Levels. (Either that, YOP Scheme or the Army). There were no Apprenticeships, or jobs available that taught a skill and paid enough to leave home and get a flat. Society failed to invest in its youth and caused a generation of less skilled workers which has reverbed to today. With 5 O'Levels in Law, Englsh, History, Geography and Politics I took a job in a lumber yard for four years. Now working in a Legal Department of the Civil Service.

Anonymous said...

Ironically I've mis-spelt 'English'

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about it - Michael Childs is concerned about what COUNTY his staples are from at the end of his 3.34 post - lets not be too concerned about trivia like a missing vowel.
Some languages like Hebrew don't have any vowels, you just fill them in verbally whilst reading. This has of course led to some confusion between digging and dogging but we we won't worry about that either.

Michael Child said...

My dear chap (anonnyss) I always put a mistak in my blogginn try this
https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=10276801&postID=8712956556903277856

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Child - I just thought you wanted to keep your business in Kent and didn't want foreign staples made in, for example, Surrey.
Nice thought!

More seriously we all do typos and blogs are not a speling test.(sic)

Michael Child said...

The trouble the awful trouble is and in Thanet it comes out like notin to wiv

Anonymous said...

Do you remember wether and whether Michael? Finger trouble is a constant tnemssarrabme.

Anonymous said...

How many small firms suffered under the last tory government double figure interest rates high inflation high unemployment. the t only time interest rates fell were done by the tories when elections were coming up

Anonymous said...

Only time I ever made real money was during the Thatcher years. OK I was paying 14.2% interest but I was making enough to pay it, and houses weren't so expensive ( paid 10,000 for a good house) so the interest was on a much smaller amount.
Now I get to the end of the week - like this morning - and I said to the one employee I have left - well that was a waste of a week being in business in Thanet.
No one wants to spend any money here, everything has to be cheap and its just not costeffective running most businesses here.
And I am a Labour voter! I am beginning to wonder why.