In a letter to the Observer, George Morran, who has a wealth of experience in local government, wrote: the case for a new approach to manufacturing (Observer, Business Sunday 29th December) needs to be taken further.
The Observer article issued ‘a big challenge, but one that must be met’: “Britain must look beyond London, put faith in manufacturing and redress the balance of wealth to benefit the regions beyond the south-east”.
George focussed on the UK’s dependency on the manufacture of arms, while at the same time being forced to import trains, trams and other manufactured goods from abroad. He asked:
“Would it not be possible – with the level of Government support currently given to BAE and its supply chain – to fill some of these more local needs?
“The UK’s manufacturing heritage was founded on local manufacturers meeting local needs, firstly agricultural and later the needs of the coal, iron and related industries. We need to move back to this more localised approach to manufacturing”.
Localise West Midlands has published a report about Community Economic Development which sets out in some detail a more localised approach to economic development. It demonstrates the significant benefits of more locally-owned economies in creating successful, socially just and diverse places and highlights how a locally-focused approach can be fully integrated into conventional economic development.