Buy British

When we leave the EU we will be able to change our procurement rules for the public sector. I would like to see a greater presumption that we buy things from local and UK suppliers where there are appropriate goods and services available with more than one competitor for the business.

We can under EU rules buy more from the UK in the area of defence. It us good that our new aircraft carriers, for example, are being built in the UK with UK steel.
Yet we are buying armed vehicles from Germany, and the steel for our subs is coming from France. The Defence department should work harder to make sure we have the capacity here to meet our needs. Surely an order for 800 armoured vehicles could provide sufficient workload to offer a worthwhile invetsment for a UK factory?

The UK is a huge importer of many things needed to build homes. We import large quantities of tile, bricks, kitchen and bathroom assemblies, central heating boilers, taps, valves, copper pipe, and many aluminium and steel items. As the government and Councils are large builders in their own right directly and through the Housing Associations why not demand a higher UK component in the new homes, or choose specs which UK businesses have a chance of delivering?

I am always struck in France at how much public procurement there buys French, even whilst operating the EU rules. Freed of the EU rules we should be able to do better than our neighbours in this crucial area.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Brexit
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Well said. The UK has been disadvantaged for too long. Once clear of Brussels rules, there should be a sizeable benefit to UK businesses who want to take advantage.

    We monitor some of the activities of EU states and how they seem to flout the rules, whereas the UK is prosecuted for the smallest thing. (Latest example last month being the EU Commission taking the UK to the ECJ for not caring enough about porpoises. And no, that’s not a joke.)

    Where the EU does eventually prosecute member states for flagrant breaches of trade or state aid rules, these come very late. We reported on the decision to take the Italians to court for alleged illegal state aid to its no1 steel producer – but this was many years after the damage had been done to the UK and some other states.

    O/T: Might we invite your readers to look at our new ‘O Brexit, My Brexit !’ survey? It gives everyone a chance to express their view and we plan to forward the results to the ministers concerned. The link is on our news page:

    • Hope
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Well said, again. Are the Business Secretary Home Secretary, Defence Secreatary and local government minister taking a very active lead in this regard? Have you written to them? How about the minister energy? Also the USA uses only American goods or businesses for overseas aid, including consultants. With over £14 billion being given away that could be good for U.K. Business. The same with vehicles used for public services.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      BrexitFacts4EU. I am so impressed with your site and have filled in your form tonight and made a donation. Keep up the good work. Anyway we can let ministers know how we feel is a great idea. I have sent the link to all my friends and family too.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted November 13, 2016 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      Three possible reasons: 1) UK is the odd man out in Europe in terms of culture so subjected to wide scrutiny, 2) language, most of them speak English as a second or third language thus facilitating wide scrutiny of Britain, whereas hardly anyone speaks 28 languages and the English are notoriously poor at foreign languages, 3) power, France and Germany are the most powerful continental EU countries and any small net recipient of their largesse is afraid to criticise them let alone take them to court.

    Posted November 12, 2016 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Local Authorities should come clean irrespective of whether they are Labour or not and indicate how an open procurement policy cuts costs. They have had to buy European or those products advised.
    This should cut across Party lines. The vote is over. Let’s move on as British. Together.

    • Hope
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      They should be forced to declare procurement. Too corruption among councillors and developers, far more integrity testing and scrutiny required.

    Posted November 12, 2016 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    We should develope “Buy British” as an interim watchword. Thereupon, it should be taken as read that we do buy British. How can it not be better than any other alternative, so to speak?

    • Richard1
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Let’s hope all those other countries where Liam Fox encourages us to export don’t adopt the same policy.

      • hefner
        Posted November 13, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Richard1, you certainly have a point here. The “buy local” or ” buy ‘national’ ” is something regularly encountered in France, Germany, Italy in supermarkets and market stalls for fruits and vegetables. Not that anybody over there would want to buy these fresh products from the UK.
        For the rest, it is a fact that nowadays a large fraction of day-to-day goods and clothing are originating from China and other South East Asia countries.
        Does the UK have the means to reconquer its internal market for such goods from China after 40 years of neoliberal thinking (pushed at least originally by Mrs Thatcher and those bright young ones around her, and followed up by subsequent governments).
        Do I see JR ready for a Damascene conversion?

  4. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    There are no jollies for the purchasers when they buy British. It also burnishes their pro EU credentials.
    The MOD would prefer to buy from Europe to embed us into the European defence force.
    Parliament should insist on a buy British for defence procurement.

    Posted November 12, 2016 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Our borders are defined by the sea. There’s a clue!
    The way we operate, the way we trade, the way we think, how we talk and what we mean by our incessant jabberings, as viewed by Mr, Mrs & Ms Dictionaries, should be, despite their academic deliberations, our intimate oneness. We know what we mean. We are the British!

  6. am
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Very true. It should help start industrial regeneration.
    Import substitution and added value is a long but necessary road for the UK.
    Can we also look at mncs and their supposed benefit to the UK. To me it is just bondage to internationally focussed boardrooms.
    Also what is really gained from mncs hq’d in London and listed on the FTSE. Some of them even pay out divs in euros and dollars not even pounds. This hits the UK hard in the bop. A serious cost-benefit analysis is needed of this phenomenon. Is it really that good for UK plc.

  7. Excalibur
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Indeed, JR. It is incomprehensible that government procurement is not already slanted towards our own industries. There was much comment in these columns yesterday about the difficulty of selling to Germany, yet we are to procure no fewer than 800 armoured vehicles from them. It is time we started to serve our own interests. Brexit will provide the opportunity for a completely new approach.

    • NA
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Indeed, JR. It is incomprehensible that government procurement is not already slanted towards our own industries.

      Only BAE get that sort of protection.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      And from what I have been reading, there was no tendering either.

      I wonder if CMD did a deal with Frau M and that what was given in return for ‘some’ restrictions on free movement ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        If CMD did a deal it was a certainly dreadfully bad one, though he himself did not seem to realise it.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Indeed freed of EU rules we would have all sorts of other advantages too. We could move to cheap reliable enegy instead of the absurdly expensive, hugely subsidised unreliables. Then we might actually retain some steel production and heavy industry. We could relay the OTT green crap building regulations that pushes up the cost of buildings. We could have easy hire and fire and a bonfire of red tape. We could become competitive again.

    We could cut, or better still scrap the absurd VAT regime. There are all sorts of possibilities if T May stopped behaving like a left, Libdem, greencrap believer and became a real Conservative who put UK jobs and growth to the fore. This instead of the tax, borrow and piss down the HS2 and Hinkley C, lagoons and wind power drains approach.

    What about some sensible evidence based policies for a change?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      I’d does increasingly look as though the pro EU lots in the Lords and Commons, which I suspect still includes left T May are going to prevent us leaving at all anyway.

      A picture of Osborne collecting his Companion of Honour award in the Telegraph today. I assume this was awarded for ratting on his IHT promise, increasing taxes and tax complexity hugely, his bonkers job destroying wages controls, his abolition of many personal allowances and child benefits, his attempts to prevent the EU referendum, his arbitrary and damaging GAAR / Mugabe tax, his thefts off private pensions pots, landlords and thus their tenants and his massive increase in government debt. This while he claimed to be “repaying the debt”. Also his pathetic threats to the electorate to try to get them to destroy their democracy for ever and remain in the dire EU

      Are Cameron (who awarded it to him) and Osborne proud of this appalling record?
      The man has not even had the decency to resign as an MP.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        Perhaps also for his up to 15% stamp duty that prevents people moving or buy a home.

        The UK has had some dire, economically illiterate, chancellors with the appalling ERM Major, the no return to boom or bust pension robber Brown and the likes, but Osborne was one of the very worst.

        We expect Labour chancellors to be tax borrow and piss down the drain merchants trying to buy votes with other people’s money, but why do the Tories promote such innumerate, irrational, pro EU, greencrap pushing fools to the job? Then even give them awards for their appalling failure?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Relax not relay!

  9. British Spy
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    A bit like the Farm Shops promoted by Osborne and co. For the most part, and I’ve stopped on my travels at many, they would fall foul of hygiene and procurement regulations and law. Inferior produce. Others, vans are there each morning from afar. Nothing to do with local produce.
    Strangely ,their “Farm Shops” look like domestic bungalows with a poor shop front. Anyone would think there was a Conspiracy Theory to convert them at some future stage into saleable domestic properties.
    The answer is that they can only be demolished at the owner’s expense and that demolishment should start within three years and no longer, lest fines, with immediate payment, yearly of the saleable price of the “dwelling”
    Then we can buy British and the farmers can get their fingers out and not depend on freebies from the likes of Osborne. Cleanliness is next to godliness

    Reply There are some very good farm shops and all have to obey hygeine regs

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      I have been buying food at farm shops for many years and many are excellent. True not all are quite what they pretend to be, but you can tell which is which fairly easily. I have never had any “hygiene” issues at all. Indeed hygiene is rather over rated I find.

      I would be rather more concerned about the supermarkets myself.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    I also read that only about 20% of the student loans that are given to EU students ever get repaid. There are now suggestions we should arrest these “defaulters”. Which twit ever agreed to give student loans (80% grants it seems) to EU students? Why did they ever think they would get much of the tax payers money back?

    Yet another thing that need to change immediately, but probably will not it seems.

    • Bob
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Tuition fees & loans is a discredited system. This all started with Tony Blair’s 50% target. Also, his nursing degree idea has not improved the patient’s experience.

      The problem was that nurses were overworked and underpaid. The solution would have been to pay them a living wage. Why can’t politicians ever directly address a problem?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        Why can’t politicians ever directly address a problem?

        Well they are politicians, they are spending other people money and things for other people what do they care (in general anyway) ?

    • Mark B
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink


      Again. It all comes down to the will of those we employ to manage the Public Purse. If it was a private money I bet you they would get every last penny back.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink


    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      L/L Yes, and to think EU citizens get free education in Scotland while the English have to pay. When will we get this right?

      Off topic. I was annoyed that Scotland played their own anthem at the football yesterday and were disrespectful to ours and booed through the anthem God Save the Queen. When will England be able to have their own anthem. God Save the Queen is for the whole of the UK yet Scotland has their own.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, so what is the English National Anthem? Jerusalem perhaps!

        • James Matthews
          Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think there is anything stopping the English having their own anthem except an unwillingness on the part of the FA to choose to do so. GSTQ is an option for any of the nations of the UK and I don’t believe the English should be forced to change it just because the Scots and the Welsh have, for their own reasons, rejected it. If we have to have a new one though, Jerusalem is the obvious candidate (words deleted ed) but I would rather stick with GSTQ for the time being if only because when Scots becomes independent it will get up their up their noses in perpetuity (and we could reinstate the missing verses).

      • JoosB
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Yep it seems the UK Government supports free tuition fees for everyone – everyone except the English that is.

        • rose
          Posted November 13, 2016 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          Yes, asylum seeking “children” get their fees and everything else paid until they are “25”. Another huge incentive to choose UK over the rest of the world.

    • Original Richard
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      LL : “Which twit ever agreed to give student loans (80% grants it seems) to EU students? Why did they ever think they would get much of the tax payers money back?”

      Don’t EU anti discrimination rules say that whatever is offered to UK students must also be offered to all EU students ?

      The only “exception” is that Scotland does not have to offer free university fees to English, Welsh and N.I. students as discrimination within the UK is allowable. But EU students in Scotland must pay nothing.

  11. sam stoner
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    And, at a stroke, the LEAVE claim that “the UK will be a beacon of free trade” is transformed into “the UK will be aggressively protectionist”.

    You’ll be telling me next you won’t spend 350 million in the NHS after all

    • libertarian
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Sam Stoner

      I agree totally with your first sentence

      The 350 million claim is just nonsense , we already spend far more than that on the NHS and the budget for the next 4 years has been increased by a further 16 billion

    • David Price
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Yet no criticism of German and French protectionism ….

      Your heroes pay no attention to the rules nor what is best for others so why should we and where do you get off berating any proposal we adopt a more pragmatic view of our interests.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Of course we should protect ourselves from foreigners who have decided to become our enemies because we won’t go along with their geopolitical project.

      In fact beyond mere defensive measures we should be quietly planning how we can hit back at them should they make that necessary, and hit back hard.

      ““Si vis pacem, para bellum”,

      “If you wish for peace” – as we do – “prepare for war”.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      There was never any claim 350 million would be spent on the NHS, but even if there had been you have got a Remainer colleague as PM so shouldn’t you complain to her ? On the one hand you manoeuvre the Leavers out of the PM contest and then you complain about Leavers not implementing a policy which can only be approved by the PM.

      By the way, where is my punishment budget with income tax rises for all that was promised by your Remain chums ?

    • acorn
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      There is a hell of a lot in your first paragraph Sam! Being a beacon of free trade will depress domestic prices and consequently wipe out domestic producers; if, we do not have any products that are world beaters on price and quality, that foreigners still want to buy by acquiring Pounds Sterling.

      UK manufacturing of goods capacity, is currently about a third of what it should be, thanks to Mrs Thatcher. Alas, we are still getting away with a massive current account trade deficit, because foreigners still want to hold Sterling denominated assets.

      Being aggressively protectionist, may become a necessity. Even to the point where the government may have to ban the import of goods considered to be in the luxury category, that don’t generate any domestic employment / income. That is if the currency does not reduce the trade deficit first.

      Say, if we banned the import of high spec BMWs; or at least put a import tariff on them, so that UK car makers could keep an agreed profit margin on their domestic equivalent product sales. This may require government price controls or rationing. This assumes that there remains sufficient household purchasing power in the economy. 😉

  12. Anonymous
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    On the face of it Foreign goods may seem cheaper but there is a cost to the UK taxpayer in lost jobs if we choose them. This is not to say that we ought not choose them but that the ticket price doesn’t tell the full story.

  13. NA
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I just bought British solar panels for my boat, which I live on.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      They can make sense on a boat, but rarely do elsewhere, especially in the cloudy & fairly northern UK.

  14. Old Albion
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    ” When we leave the EU” Shouldn’t that read IF?

  15. MikeP
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    “I am always struck in France at how much public procurement there buys French, even whilst operating the EU rules.”
    But how does France manage to do this, and Germany, Italy and the rest of the cosy Eurozone set? Our weakness is that we play cricket, rules matter, that’s our mindset, cricket isn’t played on the Continent. We argue about EU rules while they’re being formulated because we intend to follow them, they need to be “right”. The rest sit by, tolerate us but couldn’t give a damn, because they will most likely flout them whenever they feel the need.

    • Bob
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink


      “Our weakness is that we play cricket, rules matter, that’s our mindset”

      Which explains why the beneficiaries of our largesse are so upset that we’ve decided to cut them off.

  16. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    O/T I’ve just been reading Greg Clarkes speed on renewable energy.
    He states we already get 14%of our power from renewable energy. This cannot be left unchallenged. We may have a theoretically installed capacity of 14 %but as wind runs currently at about 20% and solar even less we get about4% from renewable energy sources.
    Last week during the first not so cold spell we were warned that there was less than 2% spinning reserve.
    He also states that all coal fired generation will be phased out shortly to be replaced by gas.
    Who will invest in gas generation when it will run at less than optimum output and become uneconomic.
    They all go native in the end.

    • acorn
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      You may want to read up on the new “Capacity Payment System” for stand-by generation installations?.

      Also, renewables’ share of electricity generation was a record 24.7 per cent in 2015, an increase of 5.6 percentage points on the 19.1 per cent in 2014. Renewable electricity capacity was 30.0 GW at the end of 2015, a 21.9 per cent increase (5.4 GW) on a year earlier.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted November 13, 2016 at 6:59 am | Permalink

        Installed capacity. Try reading actual megawatt hours produced which is about 20 %

        • acorn
          Posted November 13, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          2015 Electricity Generated from:
          Coal 76.3 TWh
          Nuclear 70.3
          Gas 99.8
          Renewables 83.3 ….. That is 24.7% Ian.
          Total 337.7 TWh

          Supplied to:
          Industry: 92.1 TWh
          Domestic 108.8
          Other final consumers 103.1
          All 304.0 TWh

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Indeed another greencrap Libdem trype without any grasp of engineering, science, economics or the physics of energy production.

  17. michael
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Absent predatory pricing are we not better off buying at the lowest price regardless of geography or patriotism?

  18. M Davis
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Christmas is coming …

    Since this is a post about buying British goods, I hope I may be permitted to promote a shop I came across when at the 950th anniversary and re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings:

    • Mark B
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Bookmarked – with thanks

  19. The Prangwizard
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    It’s not only EU rules and the determination to abide by them.

    For years among businesses and private consumers it has been fashionable and has carried kudos to buy foreign. This has been added to by an economic argument which discouraged long term product development and retention here, and the self destructive obsession with most economists to sell our brands to foreign buyers, either new ones as soon as they get going as well as the established.

    There needs to a change in the mindset. Foreign should not be considered best. We need more Dyson’s and more ‘Made in England’ branding.

  20. Caterpillar
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I think there could be several distinct issues at play here:

    1) Straightforward protectionism – who and what to protect? Should strategic industries with high option value (e.g. Defence, food production, education) be domestically produced?
    2) Aged or infant industry arguments – protect some segments until UK catches up.
    3) Are comparative advantage arguments for free trade valid (scarcity is a dubious assumption, gain isn’t shared)?
    4) Should money creation change from the debt based system to one in which the Government (/other central body) creates money and channels to the economy by public spending on UK production?

    Freedom from the EU will allow such considerations, but these will have to be careful.

  21. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Could I humbly advise the MINI COUNTRYMAN?
    Who could imagine a more British car?!!!

    • Richard1
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      I’d be interested to hear your views on Mr Wilders if you would be able to do a short post some time.

    • miami.mode
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      PVL. Very droll – we’re not used to this from Europeans.

      Unfortunately the Top Gear revue of the Countryman only gives it 5 out of 10 whilst indicating that it is rather old-fashioned.

      An Aston Martin Vanquish might be more appropriate with perhaps a Rolls Royce Phantom for the EU!!!

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        @miami.mode: Once British, always British, even though the Mini Countriman 2017 is produced in the Netherlands, providing jobs for thousands of Dutchmen (and thousands of robots). You see how much we (and BMW) love Britain and British products 🙂

        • James Matthews
          Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

          And Ford transits are now built in Turkey. Why on earth would we want to leave the EU when it gives us so many benefits?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      PVL. No thanks. Don’t like it as much since BMW took it over. Too up itself for my liking.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        See my comment to miami.mode

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      The mini countryman is manufactured by BMW, a German company. Why not recommend a British car?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        @behindthefrogs: Because it’s still a very British product, even though the Dutch have the honor of producing for you. And obviously you would support our employment in this terrible eurozone. 🙂

    • JJE
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes, they are mostly made in Austria. I think they are hideous but they sell very well so what do I know? I laughed out loud the first time I saw a Porsche Cayenne and it’s the most profitable car model ever made.

      Of course the creator of the original Mini was born in Smyrna, now Izmir in Turkey, to Greek and German parents. I think there is a more interesting tale there about the benefits of being open to the world.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        @JJE: The Mini Countryman 2017, produced in the Netherlands, will be so much better! You will feel it’s really British! 🙂

    • Wonky Moral Compass
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I’m more of Triumph Spitfire man myself.

      • NA
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        I’m more of Triumph Spitfire man myself.

        but they are so tiny, what was that about?

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      That was a cracking comment, PvL !

      It made me laugh even though I’m often in disagreement with you.

      • miami.mode
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Agreed Anon. Probably the most amusing comment I have ever come across on JR’s diary.

        Of course it could be that the Germans do have a sophisticated sense of humour and have kept the car in production whilst the Burghers of Munich are laughing up the sleeves of their lederhosen outfits.

        Perhaps could be compared to the VW Phaeton, named after the Greek god that crashed the chariot of the Sun and set the earth ablaze.

  22. ChrisS
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I have a lot of sympathy with your comments on buying British but there are problems :

    You say, for example, “Surely an order for 800 armoured vehicles could provide sufficient workload to offer a worthwhile investment for a UK factory?” Rheinmetall Defence has some 23,000 employees, about a quarter of the size of BAe Systems, so their should be no reason why their Alvis vehicles division should not be able to produce the vehicles we need.

    However, that is not a very good example of why so much of our expenditure goes on acquiring engineering expertise and products from Europe and the USA :

    One of the biggest restrictions on UK business is the availability of finance for expansion.
    This is most evident in the structure of our shrunken industrial sector.

    We have several million small businesses, quite a few very large ones, regrettably now mostly foreign owned, but very few in the range of 100-250 and 250-500 employees. Germany, by contrast, has a huge number of medium sized companies that are the backbone of their engineering expertise and are large enough to export successfully.

    In Germany, investors and banks take a much longer term view on profitability. Here, our banks only lend money betting on certainties, wanting guarantees and personal assets of the directors signed over to cover modest loans. I am sure this is why our businesses stay small, despite having clever ideas and products.

    In Germany the Regional banks and Lande offer long term financing for business because they know it is in their interest for employment to expand in their region. By contrast, our big four banks don’t have any interest in the locality in which the branch is located. Their only interest is their own central profitability in the current and possibly the following year or two.

    Until we solve this problem, our industrial strategy will be hamstrung and our export potential severely limited.

    Maybe the Government can redirect the money that currently goes to the European Investment Bank towards our own industrial businesses but I suspect a lot more needs to be provided than this.

  23. Lifelogic
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    80 MPs join the let’s defy the people and their referendum result. Doubtless to be joined by the Ken Clark, Osborne types and the 60% of the Tory Party that are still essentially pro EU, climate alarmist, libdim think remainers. All still being cheered on by the dire EUphile BBC and the legal profession.

    What an appalling mess the incompetent Cameron government have left behind with his poorly structured now apparently “advisory” referendum. Did he not promise to to serve the section 50 notice the next day. At least he did the decent think and left parliament.

    Just a shame there are still so many Cameron/Heath/Osborne Libdim, greencrap remainer types still there still tying to fully kill UK democracy.

  24. Iain Moore
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    If this is the case then lessons haven’t been learnt, for back in 2004 the MOD chose to buy 5200 Man trucks made in Austria, to be delivered between 2007 and 2013 on a contract worth £1.1 billion , instead of the preferred trucks from US truck maker Stewart and Stevenson, who would have made them in the Birmingham LDV plant, giving that manufacturing facility a future and supporting a further 140 suppliers. Bizarrely the Man trucks didn’t even do the job they were required for, and had to be substantially modified to work in all the environments the British army has to operate in.

    Sometime you really wonder if the claims of there being a 5th column working against our interests aren’t true. For in this case they helped sabotage our industrial base and delivered trucks to the army that didn’t meet their needs.

    As to your wider point, where as nations like France , Italy and Germany have a culture of patriotism for their nations, where organisations and people have a sense of duty to do what is right for by their country, without needing to be told , in the UK this has been removed in an orgy of multiculturalism, identity politics, mass immigration, and utter contempt for the people of our country, as we have seen in the persistent attacks on us being useless, lazy, and ‘little Englanders’ , let us hope that Brexit is a turning point.

  25. Original Richard
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    “Buy British”


    We are being fleeced as can be seen by our £70bn/year trading deficit with the EU.

    I no longer purchase French agricultural products after having seen French farmers destroy Italian wine imports and burn Welsh lambs alive.

    And to think we pay £10bn/year net to this organisation as well.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Same here, and that personal boycott of French goods is still in place.

  26. libertarian
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Good morning JR

    Please be very very careful about this type of initiative. Back in the 70’s the government made it mandatory for the public sector to buy British computers from ICL. Within a very short space of time ICL stopped innovating, the public sector had antiquated technology that was very definitely not up to the mark. Eventually ICL crashed and burned . It left a mess which took decades to sort out and catch up.

    Quite simply we should buy the best products for our needs that are within our budgets

  27. richard verney
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Talking of procurement, I recall watching Andrew Neil interviewing some politician after the government had just announced a cut in the army of about 25,000 personnel.

    Andrew neil suggested that the Israeli government spends annually about as much as the UK does on military procurement, and it ministry of defence procurement deivision had less than 500 staff, whereas the Westminster had about 24,000 staff working on military procurement.

    Andrew Neil’s point is why didn’t the government lay off about 23,000 civil servants rather than about 25,000 Army soldiers?

    Andre Neil was suggesting taht if Israel can procure its needs with less than 500 civil servants, then this should also be possible for the UK.

    I have not checked the figures but I recall well the point being made by Andrew Neil since it was so telling of what is wrong with the State in this country and how Westminster/the Government has ballooned out of all reasonable proportion.

    Government departments need grossly cutting back.

    • rose
      Posted November 13, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      It is the same in local government: for example, “officers” and “managers” in excess and not enough gardeners in the Parks Department.

  28. Bert Young
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Price and product effectiveness are the main issues facing consumers ; the advantage of trading internationally is that our own manufactured products have to measure up to these conditions .Consumers want the best in all respects . A ridiculous example at the moment are vacuum cleaners ; the most powerful have been restricted by EU controls and the ones now available are sub-standard and are not as good ; the price has remained the same !.

    I prefer a completely open international market – one in which we can compete successfully and keep our standards up to scratch . There is no reason why we should fear such an exposure .

    • Iain Moore
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Only if countries are playing by the same rules, when you have countries, like Japan, Germany and China ensuring they have an undervalued currencies, what appears cheaper may not be, just a strategic attempt to hollow out other counties manufacturing base for their benefit.

  29. Antisthenes
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    “I am always struck in France at how much public procurement there buys French”

    A perfect example of the consequences of protectionism. No doubt to be applauded by all and sundry. A reaction of the blinkered who fail to see the far more damaging side effects of that policy. I agree with you that the British should buy British but not at the expense of price and quality. If that is to be found abroad so be it. Nothing to fear from that but much to be feared by not allowing it but that is another matter.

    Buying local can only be a scenario that is economically possible if the conditions are right for producers to be capable of supplying that demand. Successive UK governments, the EU and vested interests have created an environment that for the manufacturing sector especially it is difficult to produce products at the right price. Quality is important but only if it is reasonably applied. High quality if too high is as debilitating for sales as poor quality. We strive too fiercely for the former in away that it prices us out of the market.

    The EU, socialists, progressives and vested interests abhors unfettered competition and give preference to social justice(so called as because they do it ends up being counter productive) over economic common sense(expediency and the realistic). Until foreigners apply the same social justice and regulatory standard as us the they will be able to produce goods at acceptable quality at lower prices. We either accept that and allow UK consumers the benefits accruing from it and the inward investment that encourages. Else we reduce our standards more in line with the foreigners and give UK producers the opportunity to produce more and restart producing things that we no longer do that encourages outward investment.

  30. bratwurst
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Tut tut Peter. Very naughty:)

  31. Mark B
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    If the French local and national governments can buy local French products then why cannot British ? All it takes is the will.

    The problem therefore, is not the EU but our administrators.

    • James Matthews
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes. I rather agree. One of the justifications for the ODA and the British Council helping postgraduate students to come to the UK used to be the belief that, as an influential “successor generation”, when they returned home they would be predisposed to using the familiar British equipment on which they had done their research and thus, when procuring new equipment, would define their specifications so that only British equipment met their criteria.

      I don’t know whether this actually worked (it did, of course, initially depend on the UK making some equipment in the first place, so probably not), but the basic premise seems plausible. If returning students can construct specifications in this way, so, no doubt, can the Germans, the French and the Dutch (to name only three out of twenty-seven) and so could the British if they understood that rules are there to be circumvented, not to be enforced.

  32. Colin Hart
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Everybody, including the public sector, should be free to buy from whom they choose. What they shouldn’t have to do is wade through the treacle of the EU procurement process.

    I know of at least one local authority that has brought its IT back in house because of it.

    One of the reasons the French are able to get round the rules is that no one challenges them. It is the same with the way Germany gets away with burning its own Brown Coal.

  33. Marjorie Baylis
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I think this is an excellent suggestion, however I have tried through my life to make a point of buying British all the way through. Meat and vegetables are so much better in any event, but things like cars as well. I drive a Vauxhall.. US owned, but assembled here.

    I rather take the view that the more I help to keep the British workforce employed, the fewer will be left relying on benefits and the less tax I will pay. Isn’t that the best reason of all for buying British?

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Same here, just bought a new civic and we’ve had the kitchen appliances all with UK made equipment and it’s very good.
      I never have subscribed to the German efficiency thing having worked for them and the French.
      UK and US technology tends to be far superior but we have all the civil servants polishing their EU credentials.

  34. David Price
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    At the least there should be a requirement for a full and accurate labeling of product sourcing to country and county level, so the consumer can compare and decide which economy they want to support.

  35. Mablethorpe
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Mr Corbyn has been speechifying again. After asking for a glass of water to be brought to him by a comrade butler, he said the Tory Party is just like the Republican Party and Mrs May is a nicely spoken version of Mr Trump.
    There are no flies on Corbyn despite being dead for so long

    • James Matthews
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      “Mrs May is a nicely spoken version of Mr Trump.” Please let that be true. My fears about Brexit negotiations will be entirely removed.

  36. John B
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    ‘…presumption that we buy things from local and UK suppliers where there are appropriate goods and services available with more than one competitor for the business..’

    No Mr Redwood ‘we’ should buy from the lowest cost producer, assuming comparitve specifucation and quality… just like we consumers do when we shop around to get best price and don’t really care whether that washing machine was made in UK or Poland…. because that means less money is taken from the taxpayer so ‘we’ have more money to spend on other things which makes us wealthier and stimulates economic activity particularly for goods and services that are more readily available locally.

    I suppose I should no longer be surprised at just how far removed modern day Conservatives are from core conservative principles.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      It’s worth watching the last episode of “Victorian Slum”, 23 minutes in here:

      Then it was the Liberals who won a landslide victory in 1906, on a manifesto of continuing the decades-old policy of free trade, against the Conservatives who proposed to bring in trade barriers to protect British jobs.

      The interesting props in the campaign: the big loaf versus the little loaf.

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      But that’s the problem . We don’t buy from the cheapest and best, the 800 armoured cars from Germany haven’t been tendered for so there is no price comparison.
      The government should step in and cancel the order until due diligence is completed.

  37. adam
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I am listening to radio 4 now. Other than it sounds like a strategy and planning meeting for the Communist Party UK, I suddenly realised something. The reason the BBC and friends were so excited and delighted by Obamas victory was not because they believed it would cause change or because he was black, it was because he legitimatised their delusions that they decide who the president should be and the rest of us do what they tell us to do. And the reason they are so upset with trump is not that he will be racists mysoginist whatever. It is because it is a repudiation of their authority to tell us what to do. or some reason these men (mostly) have assigned themselves the role of authority in the world. The authority to tell the rest of us what to think.

  38. anon
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    HMG should buy British where the “judged overall benefit” is to the UK interest.

    This should include strategic concerns and as we are an island some need for sufficiency in basic needs.

    We need to plan for the problems caused by the EU acting irrationally and illegally.

    This means Strategic Buyers need to move procurement and dependencies away from the EU to non EU countries, this will mitigate potential disruptions.

    This means we need to expand our deep sea trading port capacity and naval & border capacities and immediately strengthen trade ties with the commonwealth US, China Russia and ROW.

  39. fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Yes, John. It’s about time we started buying British where we can as often the goods are superior. We also need to start thinking about new industry to serve our sectors as necessary. Let’s get on with leaving the EU and starting all these great ideas. I recently bought the new Land Rover Discover Sport and love it. Foreign owners yes, but made in Britain and only took 3 days with all the extras we ordered. Great stuff.

  40. forthurst
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    A lot of British manufactured produce is not British sourced to a large extent which goes someway to explaining why we have low productivity and a balance of payments deficit; manufactured items costing more than a set amount should have to declare the percentage of the factory gate price which was British sourced including capital costs such as r&d and process equipment and display that information to consumers.

    Whereas it is appropriate to keep the great Reform Bill as simple and uncontroversial as possible by incorporating all existing EU law into English law, it is equally appropriate that departments which have the responsibility for this law should be in discussion now with producers including farmers etc who believe that EU law is damaging their efficiency, so that parallel bills can be readied to repeal and reform those laws.

    The government should reintroduce state scholarships for engineering degrees to cover total student costs in return for a mandatory irrevocable seven year period working for a British engineering company; furthermore, prestigious engineering degree courses such as those of Oxbridge or Imperial such be reserved for British nationals who would have to agree to work for the same seven year period for an engineering company based in this country; the use of technical degrees as meal tickets to activities that can be performed by history graduates should be deprecated.

    • forthurst
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      When Donald Trump revokes the Paris Accords on the Global Warming Hoax, we should do likewise and save our industry instead of exporting it to the Orient.

  41. TraineeTrump
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Our media is still not telling the truth about America. Still speaks of Obamacare as some great gift to Americans.There are aspects of it which are good as Mr Trump has always recognised. What our media fail to mention is the entirety of it. Making poor people who actually did get FREE healthcare ( never mentioned at all in our media and we pictured traffic injured people left to bleed to death in the streets if they were not rich )…making poor people, forcing them to enroll in private expensive insurance , the premiums of which were due to rise massively in 2017, was not a liberation as Corbynistas also picture it. The poor could be jailed for not finding the money to pay directly to an insurance company and employers were reluctant to employ more than 50 people lest they were required to also pay into private insurance companies. It was a money-making racket from start to finish by the Democratic Party and their Big Business contributors…also a planned net decrease by the Democrats by government paying healthcare, and of course as a by the way wiping out the progression of small businesses, stuck at 49 workers or a massive insurance money to find.

    Not a Conspiracy Theory. A conspiracy. Fully supported even now by our media. Why doesn’t our media tell the truth now? Have they been bought?

    • TrueStory
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink


      In 2008, I went to the USA to stay with an American friend. Just before Obama’s first electoral triumph. My friend, family and associates were very well off indeed and all for Obama. I remarked, genuinely, to pleased smiles that the healthcare being extended to everyone was a very good idea. I had in my mind that it was a large step to an American NHS. I was very happy hearing on my return to the UK that Obama was now in the White House.
      BUT, I phoned my friend a few months later. In just months my friend and family saw Obama as some kind of demon. I was told ” It was all a lie. They’re making people take health insurance who can’t afford it. They have to have it. But it has “exceptions” so you can get really sick but no help is given until say you need $12,000 of medical assistance. If you need help for medicine for a week or so you have to pay every dollar yourself and the doctor fees yourself. I believe I heard a cussing word about Obama at this point.

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      There is a good comment today on ConHome by an American how his premiums went up by a factor of 10 and as a family they can no longer afford to return home from the UK.
      I also believe that certain belief sectors were exempt from paying as it was against their belief to buy insurance so Barry exempted them.
      Obamacare has been a disaster for a good proportion of the population and I bet lots of them voted Trump.
      When I was in the States, there were lots of charitable run hospitals and clinics.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      The UK media are just lazy. They are only interested in American politics every 4 years and then they just copy down things they’ve read in the US left-wing media like CNN. Obama promised that healthcare premiums would come down and that people could keep their existing policies. The reality is millions of existing policies have been cancelled and premiums have gone up, in many cases by 50-100%.

  42. EUPrisoner500000000
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Is it ‘buying British’ when we buy defence equipment, from a defence company in the UK, that is owned by a French parent company?

    There are 7,000 UK employees, but profits ultimately go to France.

  43. behindthefrogs
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    This important movement to buy British needs to apply to our own purchases made on a daily basis. For example why buy French cheese when their are British versions of many of them, often both better and cheaper. We should all be looking to replace at least one truly British product in our weekly shopping. Ideally made in Britain, from British ingredients, by a British manufacturer. Particularly the latter needs some careful homework.

    This movement should be happening whether we are in the EU or not. Our balance of payments demands it.

    • rose
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      I have been buying Somerset Brie ever since it appeared. It is much nicer than French. Our cheeses are seriously undersold.

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 14, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        moi aussi!

  44. AliceLookingGlass
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Why should I buy British? Should we remind ourselves of the “experts” pre-Referendum? It was way past expressing an individual personal democratic view.

    If Mr CEO lived in my street making lots of money selling me mirrors, but used his wealth and the brand name of his company to threaten my very country with annihilation then, after thwarting his traitorous and still ongoing moaning activities, you suggest I should still buy his mirrors! No.
    Mr CEO said he was going to move abroad. He should give his toilet a good clean beforehand.

  45. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    As the US and EU are set on a protectionist course it should be cheaper to buy British anyway.

  46. haha
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I may start buying the Daily Mail. I’ll leggit to the newsagents on monday.
    The Remoaners still are crying their eyes out. Be hitting us all with their dolls next

    • James Matthews
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      Me too. it obviously deserves support.

  47. NoPaper
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I bet the luvvies of the Liberal Left would be OK if we bought certain newspapers which they find “hateful” if, we were to screw each page up into bits, sprinkle them with mind-dulling “herbs” and distribute them for smoking in tiny clay pipes for kindergarten children. They are a dopey lot.

  48. margaret
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Yes despite what other posts have said , we should buy British , yet,,,it is difficult to know what is British . Just when we think we have done it , we are told that the bits and pieces come from other countries. Only by buying British can we improve our own goods and understand what is best for the UK.

  49. Lost SNP gyroscope
    Posted November 13, 2016 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Is the SNP going to buy British?
    The SNP MPs ( and Scotland’s First Minister ) gave a hostile and personal reaction to Mr Trump even before he put his hat into the ring for President. Not good for either buying British or buying American.

    Time for the SNP to sit down and try to be calm. They need to reflect on the situation they have created for themselves.

    The first thing they may think about doing is going to the Parliament Library or wherever. The should seek a calendar of events of their own interactions, comments in regard to Mr.Trump. Then go to an independent person outside the UK. His remit will be to find connections between their comments on Mr Trump and his presence in the UK. Also to discover “lack of direct or indirect connections”, that is, sounding off against Mr Trump without external political stimulus. Next ask themselves what “lack of connectivity in political discourse” by any politician on earth portends.

  50. Slaphappy
    Posted November 13, 2016 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    I can’t recall over the last 50 years or so such high tones in shrieks from media journalists and politicians of the Left and Liberal as are now.

    There was much upheaval in the 60s as I recall, all over the world. But only the young were chanting. I was among them. A very minor leader…but led by persons of greater age and experience and I dare say intelligence. They smirked at my …genuineness. I did not see it then . Now in flashback.

    So I now see the dragon of the Left and its elder “statesmen”. Riding on the back of youthful purity and innocence, here and now on the streets of America protesting democratic perfection. Nothing British about the greybeards of the Left.

    I admit schadenfreude. I am only normal. The idea of those “comrades”, also those schoolteachers who caned us so terribly with in my case the local Labour Party “It’ll do ’em good. It never did me any harm”. Now most will be dead. Schadenfreude. The ones not, will be sat in a old urinated “lounge” chair catered for sometimes by a migrant who can’t speak English and she tells you the runny boiled egg running down your chin will dry up eventually because she is busy. Schadenfreude.
    Leave vote and now Trump vote. Schadenfreude. The way journalists and “grandees” had and have fear in their faces and over-quick speaking on their lips, hysterical, and into kids building bricks as a pathetic retort. Another brick in the wall?Two bricks Brexit and Trump. I can die now, avenged.At last! And death shall have no dominion.

  51. NA
    Posted November 13, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Yet we are buying armed vehicles from Germany, and the steel for our subs is coming from France.

    Because they are trying to tie us into a de facto EU army where we are all dependant on each other so will not go to war. This is their ideology, same reason Osborne gave for allowing the Chinese and French to run our nuclear industry.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page