Merryn's Blog

How do we bring manufacturing back home?

What can we do to encourage companies to make things in Britain, rather than somewhere else? Ideas here, please.

I've asked you here before to offer up your ideas on how to make the UK grow again. When we last asked back in June 2011 the general consensus from MoneyWeek readers was pretty clear.

You wanted public spending slashed. You wanted huge tax cuts so that money was returned to the hands of those who might actually use it well (be that by spending it or investing it) and you wanted a genuine bonfire of the regulations.

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So far so bad, I'm afraid. Still, given that we had such an excellent and intelligent response that time' I'm going to ask you for more ideas.

If you look in this week's magazine (out tomorrow) you will see an interview with Mary Portas - or as she is known in television land, 'Mary Queen of Shops'. She's got a new programme out, which you can read about here.She also has a new mission: figuring out what to lobby the government for to help achieve her aim of rebooting British manufacturing.

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How, she asked me, can we encourage firms to make stuff here rather than somewhere else, particularly now that rising wages in Asia, soaring transport costs and the weak pound mean that the price advantage of manufacturing abroad really isn't what it once was. The obvious answer to her question is some kind of tax break.

I suggested an employers' National Insurance holiday, or reduced corporation tax rate for firms that manufacture a given percentage of their goods at home. Any other thoughts you'd like to add below would be very welcome.




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