Industrial strategy

The government has published its Green Paper designed to boost industry and productivity, and to spread investment and prosperity more widely around the UK.

One of the main improvements   I have been seeking is improved public procurement. The paper stresses the need for change in this area. The public sector buys all too many items from overseas, when acting as an intelligent customer and partner of UK business would allow it to buy good value goods and services here in the UK. The public sector would then benefit from the taxes levied on that business activity and on the incomes of the employees involved, and there would be a saving on the balance of payments.

The Defence department has ordered a large number of Ajax light tanks from Spain. Given the long term production runs needed the government could have worked with a UK company and design. It is importing steel for our new submarines on the grounds that our industry does not make the right specification. Surely it could have been worthwhile to discuss with our steel industry how they could invest in transforming their base steel into the required material?  We are importing large quantities of building materials and components for the UK public housing programmes executed by Housing Associations and Councils. This again is work that could be done at home.

In our overseas aid programme large sums are sent to foreign institutions, charities and companies to spend for us. I want to see us concentrate our aid activities on specialist areas like disease eradication and the provision of clean water. If we did we could have sufficient purchasing power to allow companies to invest in producing the vaccines and water plants here in the UK instead of importing them from other rich countries. Overseas aid is best spent in the country you are helping. Where that is not possible it should be spent on things we are good at here.

The Green Paper also covers R and D, skills, infrastructure, start ups, exports, affordable energy, world leading sectors, spreading investment around the whole UK and creating institutions to assist. Tax cuts would  also be a big help in generating enterprise and growth. Ensuring proper competition and preventing take over by large groups wanting to reduce competition will also be essential.

 

 

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72 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Whenever government comes out with these bold plans:

    a) they never live up to their promises.

    b) cause more harm than good.

    c) pave the way for more government control and regulation.

    d) end up costing the tax payer.

    etc.

    Government should concerntrate on deregulation and keeping its hands out of our pockets. Oh, and reporting tractor production.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Re “reporting tractor production” that’s what all those people in the NHS are for in modern Britain.

  2. Richard1
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I’d be happy to see a Buy British policy if and only if it means best value products or services for taxpayers’ money. The danger with such a policy is there is pressure to buy UK, providers know this and either offer a worse service or an uncompetitive price, and international alternatives don’t bother to compete. Clearly if each country goes down this route it makes exports harder for us in the relevant areas. The question is how to implement such a policy whilst being rigorous in ensuring best value?

  3. Andy Marlot
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    If you want to improve productivity cut the public sector- the most unproductive part of any economy.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Exactly nearly 50% of GDP expenditure yet less than 10% of the useful output. Much of the state just inconveniences, misdirects and distracts the productive too.

  4. turboterrier
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Very good entry John and so relevant.

    I think that the only way you are going to move towards your vision for Industry and business is that you will need people with experience and vision in those sectors.

    With the result of the Supreme Court hearing today if as it is felt that it will be against the democratic vote of the people then it will be a wonderful opportunity for the PM to call a general election and hope that we get the opportunity to achieve a parliament dedicated to removing us from the EU as rapidly as possible.

    Listening to Clegg on Breakfast this morning programme, he shows all the attributes of all is what is wrong with our political system at the moment. A sad, irrelevant, loser hell bent on getting our democratic decision overturned ably supported by the most wealthy abusing their situation and position in society. The media is all doom and gloom and it is being drip fed day in day out. Can we please have the perceptions of those who want us out start fighting back by picking up on some of the still madcap decisions being made in Brussels that if implemented would have disastrous implications for this country in quality of life and financial well being.

    Better still just repeal the 1972 act and get us the hell out of this madness.

  5. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Fine sentiments Mr Redwood. However the desire to buy British should not provide an excuse to pay over the odds. We have seen MOD and NHS contracts where the preferred supplier can take advantage.

    Buy British by all means and make price allowances for taxes and jobs secured by those purchases but benchmark foreign suppliers to keep the price of supply keen.

    Business is quick to take advantage of good intentions.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      A decision minus the UK welfare costs if import is chosen instead.

  6. Prigger
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    One wonders how the Spanish gained experience in designing ,building and using tanks. Where does the Dept of Defence procure our air to air missiles, Puffin Island?

    • hefner
      Posted January 25, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      The Spaniards have been using tanks for more than 90 years. Look at “Tanks in the Spanish Army” on Wikipedia to see their role in the Spanish Civil War.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    You pick on state procurement which could indeed be improved hugely.

    But once again the government is trying to pick winners, taking money of some businesses and individuals to misdirect it to others. Theresa May is yet another high tax, interventionist lefty, it is hugely misguided. The government already makes a mess of energy, education, transport, housing, health and many more areas.

    Greg Clark was going on about electric cars which (which with current duff technology and prices) make little or no sense for the vast majority of people. Even then only due to slanted tax incentives, free parking & chargers and grants given to them.

    Just get the state out of the damn way and cut red tape and cut & simplify taxes. Governments are hopeless at picking winners, it is not their money that they are spending and they do not even care if it is good value or a winner or not. They driven more by group think, fashionable religions and trying to buy votes. We need far less government not more Theresa.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    All logical and sensible idea’s John, but does not the EU say there can be no favoured status when purchasing.
    Other EU Countries of course ignore this, as they do many other rules and regulations, but us, no we gold plate the rules and put ourselves and our industries at a disadvantage.

    Cannot help but think our purchasers are just simply lazy box tickers, who are not bothered about searching for a good UK supplier at all.

    Your examples really are quite shocking, but of course there are very many more.

    Fishing and border control vessels which we will need by the hundreds, to be built here ?

    Hs2 rails here etc ??

    Railway electrification cables and supports here ?

    Our mindset needs to change dramatically when we eventually leave the EU if we are to prosper !

    I see Trump is signing decree’s and tearing up others after one day in office, he means business, and trade talks with him will not be easy for our so called negotiators, as he thinks commercially first, not politically.

    • turboterrier
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      @ Alan Jutson

      Well said Alan, for too long businesses in the UK have swanned along dealing with the EU and become order takers and not real sales people constantly looking for new business elsewhere. Could be a safe bet that the government officials applied the same logic.

  9. Ian Wragg
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The problem with steel from France and vehicles from Spain, you’ve got to remember there is a large 5th column within government departments who take a delight in buying anything European.
    It’s not too late to revisit these orders but it won’t be done as we are still in the EU and there is precious little movement on leaving.
    As an aside John. How does the government square the circle by using 2gw of STOR dirty diesel generators on a daily basis during this windless cold spell having shut down perfectly good coal stations.
    We are announcing pollution records. Nothing to do with diesel engine generation.

  10. a-tracy
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Twice yesterday I heard on the radio on the way in and out of work of the investment planned in the North West but the news reporter kept saying to support the “so called” Northern Powerhouse – what did this news reporter mean by “so called”. The project is called the Northern Powerhouse. It’s a proposal to boost economic growth in the North, it’s being kicked off with £556m and people are still finding something to moan about and scorn. I would rather know what the funds are planned for and to achieve, who is accountable for achieving the goals of the spending.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Where does the May government now stand on the ECHR and the appalling European Arrest Warrant system? Why so much dithering over things, the contrast with Trump’s plan & action and May’s vague dithering is rather stark?

    • zorro
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Don’t be hard on her, she does it so well after years of practice at the Home Office…

      zorro

  12. Martyn G
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I agree with all that you say, John. There are potentially so many ways of bringing manufacturing back into the UK but seemingly largely ignored. As for economy of scale for example, why is there not one procurement agency for the NHS? Instead of that we have individual Trusts making their own purchase decisions and paying in many cases far more for items.
    Imagine the power and cost-saving potential if there was one agency that decides, for example, the best supplier of 1-2 million pairs of surgical gloves per annum? Spread that out over all of the different items needed by a hospital and the savings could be huge.

  13. Wessexboy
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Wholeheartedly agree with you, however, we do need to reconsider which countries should receive any help – surely those with a space programme should not qualify! I would like to see a resolution to our social care funding rather than worry about the less fortunate in other countries.

  14. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    The problem is lack of momentum. One lone voice crying in the wilderness doesn’t cut it. We need a Trump, for all his faults. Somebody the public has confidence in, and who’ll just get things done.

  15. David Murfin
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    This seems to be common sense. So the question is, why is it not done already?

  16. Bert Young
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Added to the import of things like steel , tanks etc. is the extra burden of increased cost ; recent exchange rates with the Euro highlight why this is foolish . If we don’t have the know-how and the imports are essential , that is a different matter .

    Trump has now implemented his TPP initiative with an Industrial policy in mind ; we ought to take a leaf from his book .

  17. A.Sedgwick
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Quite so and blindingly obvious to most of us, unfortunately not to a succession of ministers. Similarly over the decades I have been surprised how much production was outsourced abroad. Can we not manufacture nail clippers competitively in this country?

    On brevity I would suggest a maximum of 150 words, the remainder to be deleted.

  18. Ed Mahony
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Problem with Trump is that he’s not a corporate strategist. He’s an entrepreneur. You need a corporate strategist (like Lou Gerstner say of IBM) to build on something large that already exists (e.g. the USA as it is now). And an entrepreneur to build something up from scratch (e.g. Germany immediately after WW2). Trump’s the wrong businessman for the White House at the moment and already alienating himself from lots of people (the media, some/many Republicans, women, and so on).

    • zorro
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Interesting idea, but I think Ludwig Erhard was the right man for Gerrmany. I think that Trump is exactly what USA needs. Someone who will stand up, be straight, fight, and get the job done….. He really doesn’t care, and will act at breakneck speed and the politicians will struggle to cope with him.

      zorro

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted January 25, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      And a businessman who is both an entrepreneur and a corporate strategist is Bill Gates – way, way, way smarter and more successful than Trump.
      And part of Gates’ cleverness is not to be dramatic / authoritarian / bombastic.
      If Trump wants to make a success of being President, then he could learn a lot from people such as Bill Gates, and yet remember that America is far more than a business, and so he could learn a lot from people such as George Bush Sr as well about how to govern sensibly, wisely.

  19. Anthony Makara
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    To rebalance an economy in which low-wage Services dominate at over 80% is a difficult task and if left entirely to market forces won’t happen. Therefore state support for certain sectors is vital. While the state itself can’t create sectors it can provide the framework to jump start new industries as the Prime Minister has outlined. However this alone is not enough and as John Redwood correctly says Public Procurement needs to take on a Pro-British dynamic too. It worries me that Mrs May, for all her support for a new industrial strategy still hopes to create new deals with China and we know that China always wants to push ‘Foreign Investment’ to bolster its own influence globally. What we don’t need right now is more investment from China. We need to create the conditions for British business to flourish here at home so it can invest into and supply the coming post-Brexit Home Market economy.

  20. Shieldsman
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    How did we ever allow whole swathes of Industry to be off-shored by International business, who have their annual jolly in Davos.

    Repeal the Climate Change Act which is unachievable and get the cost of energy down for the whole Nation.

  21. David Crabtree
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    The bulk of the Ajax tanks are being built in Wales are they not?

  22. LordBlagger
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I have been seeking is improved public procurement

    =============

    Do a Trump.

    Just stop buying.

  23. Kenneth
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    One area of procurement that needs reform is surely the NHS.

    We keep hearing that drugs are getting more expensive or that a given drug manufacturer is “ripping off the NHS”.

    I think we need to do 3 things in this regard:

    1. Get some tougher hard-headed buyers in the NHS who will not allow rip-offs. Make sure their bonuses reflect good deals that save the NHS money

    2. Make sure the media knows that NICE was put in place – at least in part – to prevent drugs being purchases “at any price”. The media sometimes undermines NICE by campaigning for a particular drug to be purchased “at any price”. In this respect the BBC is the drug manufacturers’ best friend. No-one should try to prevent news stories but the BBC should not be campaigning.

    3. Review the patent/generic drugs system. Is it being gamed by some?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      The NHS is inevitably about rationing so just admit it, tell people they have to pay for things GP visits, IVF, vanity treatments, alternative “Prince Charles type of quack”, medicine, arriving drunk or drugged up at A&E and the likes for a start.

      Get some real competition into the market.

  24. Stuart Saint
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Gov Industrial Strategy: Just Get Out of the Way

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Indeed that is the best strategy by far.

  25. Caterpillar
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    off topic –

    When the Govt brings forward a bill to trigger A50 and the opposition and HoL offer amendments, could the Govt bring a vote of no confidence in itself? At this point the Govt could not have confidence in delivering as the country voted in the ref. The country could provide a larger majority for a clean brexit with a GE.

    On topic – STEM education needs to be more accessible at a higher level, not just a maths school in each city. If OU STEM Masters could be supported / made free for residents, a few more might access at a higher level.

  26. Embarristering
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Supreme Court Decision
    Legislation on the Supreme Court should be entered upon when all this Brexit stuff is over. Their gross interference threatens every single Referendum ANY government may wish to stage in the future.
    Who on earth will bother voting in any Referendum including one for Re-entering the EU ( perish the thought ) when ELEVEN people can mucky up our decision?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Oh they were deciding according to “The Law” the judges in the minority were clearly deciding according to another “the law”.

      The blame as usual lies with the dire Cameron/Osborne, This for not even organising a sensible, legally clear & decisive referendum.

  27. Antisthenes
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    A command economy is a desire of the left which until recently was decried by the Conservatives not anymore as what you advocate is a big step in that direction. Like statism, central control and planning and the nanny state it is now being embraced first by David Cameron and now T May and you. Have the Conservatives decided that as you cannot beat the left you may as well join them. Free market capitalism is slowly being replaced by crony capitalism as favoured industries are protected and consumers are being deprived of the right to choose.

    Socialists always defend their many failures by saying it has not been tried the right way. Perhaps the Conservatives have now found the right way. I doubt it and so it will eventually have the same grim results. Once again policy being driven by perceived good intentions. A perception that misses the reality that provision should be in the hands of those who can best deliver it at the best price and quality. That current account deficit is not as much of a problem as believed(it is not an indicator of economic health). That government interfering in markets to achieve it’s desired outcomes only leads to outcomes with very undesirable unintended consequences.

  28. graham1946
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Basically, what you are describing is the idiocy of politicians in ignoring what this country is capable of. Why do they do it?

    This is the sort of thing that has been said in saloon bars for decades. Why does it take so long for politicos to catch on? When (I still think actually if) we leave the EU and the dangling of fat EU carrots stops, maybe we might see some sensible and more patriotic action. Trump shows the way, you can now be patriotic without worrying about whether it is PC and will upset some foreigner.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, but in view of the Supreme Court judgment, here is some useful advice:

    https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/jan/23/lawyers-warn-may-against-short-brexit-bill-if-supreme-court-says-vote-is-needed

    “Gina Miller, the key claimant in the most important constitutional case to ever be heard by the supreme court, said that the government was only facing the challenge because of “how poorly drafted” the original referendum bill had been.

    “It would make good legal sense to make sure it is a watertight bill, to avoid loopholes that people can come back on,” she said, arguing that the move towards Brexit was so significant it should be a thorough piece of legislation.”

    Here’s my idea of “thorough” – the government’s Bill should expressly state:

    1. Its provisions apply notwithstanding the European Communities Act 1972.

    2. Authorisation to serve the notice to leave the EU shall imply authorisation to also leave the EEA.

    3. In accordance with the legislation establishing devolved authorities they shall not be permitted to impede or prevent withdrawal of the UK from the EU and the EEA.

    4. Nothing in this Act may be questioned in any court in the UK or anywhere else in the world.

    It will be interesting to see what David Davis has to say later today.

  30. turboterrier
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Today’s decision by the Supreme Court must be the catalysis for those in this country he believe in real democracy to rise up and drive this leaving of the EU process through as quickly as possible.

    I find it amazing that when an MP you have to declare your interests but it appears that these judges who had strong connections with European bodies and action groups did not. Those that do have these connections should have stood back from the whole process.

    These decision has just proved what the majority of people in this country really believe.
    MONEY TALKS. Before the referendum was even considered should not the then PM have crossed all the Ts and dotted all the Is as regarding the full implications should the vote be lost regarding the actual power of Westminster? Run a country? Couldn’t run a cake stall. 27 nations must be rubbing their hands with glee

    No more playing to the minority just get on with it the quickest way is the direct way. When you leave any club you hand in your notice and walk out the door. This country is getting enough support from our real allies the USA, Australia etc grasp the moment and JFDI. Simple. If Scotland and Wales want to cause any more grief give them their independence and let them sink or swim under their own dreams and aspirations. The soft ball game is over well and truly over. Lets start kicking butts.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      As I have said before, when you fail to plan, you end planning to fail.

      What now ?

      If it was me, I would have moved to repeal the Parliament Act allowing the PM the authority to call a snap election. With Labour in such disarray and the Tory’s polling well and the threat of a Three Line Whip and deselection, I think a vote for Art.50 would almost be a done deal.

      But Chairman May is weak PM and it shows.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Indeed.

      • acorn
        Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Mark, think about putting some serious money down on Mrs May being ousted before the next general election; or, even before the Brexit two year time-out.

        Meanwhile, make sure you have got your family covered with an EU place of tax residence and a Euro bank account to go with it. A US Dollar account would be a sensible back-up; the medium term prospects for the Euro are not favourable for the little people.

  31. Mama!
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Would a 7 year old be able to blind and deafen the Ajax tank with a can of spray paint and a can of epoxy resin? In fact, totally render the tank useless? Or, a 3 year old toddler with a paint brush and a tiny tin of Airfix model paint?

  32. ian
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Hot air, apart from companies more free money.

  33. BOF
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    It was interesting to see that the Chancellor said at Davos that their is ‘no future for a developed economy in protectionism, subsidy and high debt’.

    Mr Hammond should no much about all three! Our massive foreign Aid contributions protect and grow the business models of big international charities and other NGO’s

    We subsidise a fools paradise energy policy to the detriment of consumers and British business and industry to put the UK at a disadvantage.

    He need not look further than his own country to see unsustainable levels of national debt.

  34. Julien Tabulazero
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir,

    Wouldn’t an official of “Britain first” in terms of public procurement be at odd with a stated willingness to open the UK’s borders to free trade ?

    Surely, free trade does not mean “you open your borders to our products while we keep ours closed to yours.”

    Best regards.

  35. bigneil
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Money being sent to charities? – more like vanishing into people’s pockets. The charities leaders know that more will come next year. They are businesses, their main concern is surviving, not helping those they claim to help. It is like the beggar and his dog. Give them money and they won’t use it to step up from their position – they will be there again expecting yet more cash – and our govt keeps throwing more and more of the taxpayers cash away. Most of the population don’t have the chance to hide their money away in Panama, we have to pay our taxes – only to see it thrown away or handed over to anyone who turns up here, illegally or otherwise.

  36. Elaine Turner
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Hooray – Buy British could be coming back into fashion. If the Govt doesn’t lead by example, why should anyone else?

    I endeavour to buy British when I can, including cars, and believe that paying British people to do the work means supporting fewer people on benefit. Win win.

    • Duyfken
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Echoes of “I’m Backing Britain”! Yes, I would buy British (or Australian etc) if the goods or services were of comparable quality and price with those of the foreign competition. Nevertheless, one of my problems with this is in determining what is British – eg I have a Toyota car!

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 24, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Duyfken

        I drive a Land Rover but at least it is made in the UK and is going from strength to strength. Three cheers for a great product.

    • turboterrier
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      @ Elaine Turner.

      Absolutely spot on

  37. Tony Hart
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with everything you write!! One thing I just do not understand is this ‘productivity’. How does HMG measure it, particularly in the public sector. How do our nurses compare with other Western nations, with similar GDP per head? I haven’t read anything that tries to explain this productivity puzzle. Where might I look it up, please?

    • Anthony Makara
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      The state sector and to a large extent the service sector with its SME model, cannot pay for better wages out of ‘Productivity’ because they are limited in the size to which they can develop. In contrast Manufacturing and Agriculture, because they can export, can grow exponentially and grow indefinitely as long as they can find new markets. China has demonstrated this to great effect. Wages have collapsed in the West because the state and service sectors are too big and export based industries are too small.

  38. Pat
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps some of our aid budget could be spent on incentivising free trade between third world countries, thus making them richer. Combine that with free trade between Britain and these countries and we should enrich ourselves as well as them.

  39. Old Stager
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Is our Civil Service fit for purpose? The only conclusion to be reached from your article is ‘NO’!

  40. norman
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    There’s a lot of babies being thrown out with the bath water, it seems to me. Yes there are many things seriously out of balance, but we do need leaders capable of judging what’s best. I take the point about public sector reforms, but we do need an ace public sector! I worked a government professional, protecting our country from notifiable diseases that affect both animals and man. We did some great work, but good leadership and policy are vital, too. The same for the armed services, the police, the NHS, local authorities, etc. They are all necessary in any civilized country, otherwise it would be like the wild west.
    The political upheavals of the past few months have great potential, but shall we have the corporate, unflappable wisdom to see the necessary reforms through, without which there could be big dangers ahead? I hope President Trump and the American people will indeed resort to the Book on which he took the oath in Lincoln’s footsteps – its the only hope for both our once great nations.

  41. hefner
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Sorry John, but I think you are a spam-initiator … but, I agree, very efficient at it.

  42. fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    We are never going to be able to offer competitively priced goods all the time we are hell bent on covering the UK with wind turbines and solar panels. Get in the real world and start ignoring the NGO’s and film luvvies who want us to destroy ourselves with a load of green codswallop. Where are you Trump when we need you? He gets things done instead of fannying around and worrying about upsetting a few nerds. Let’s get back to basics and start manufacturing high quality items which we can then buy ourselves and sell to the rest of the world and not just the EU. By the way, I am disgusted by the supreme courts ruling today and just wonder if we will ever actually LEAVE. There will be a few champagne corks popping tonight but not in our house.

  43. Anoneumouse
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    A quick note

    The European Union and the EU Commission draws upon its LEGAL BASIS on budgetary maters from Article 268 to 280 of the EC Treaty. As the European Union has not performed or been in legal compliance for over 20 years we can withdraw from the European Union using the provision of Article 61 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
    .
    Article 61 Supervening impossibility of performance.
    A party may invoke the impossibility of performing a treaty as a ground for terminating or withdrawing from it if the impossibility results from the permanent disappearance or destruction of an object indispensable for the execution of the treaty. If the impossibility is temporary, it may be invoked only as a ground for suspending the operation of the treaty.
    .
    20 years of non compliance feels fairly permanent to me.

  44. turboterrier
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    It is a real indictment against the standard of politicians especially in the devolved parliaments that they have not woken up to the fact that the European subsidies they are so frightened of losing came from the UK in the first place. If they cannot grasp this one simple fact of being part of the EU, how the hell can we rely on them to do their very best for industry and business when we eventually break free from this ailing European bloc?

    Industries are also going to have too move up a few gears and start with the three things that lead to success in the business arena. Training, training, training and when completed start again, encourage your work force not to leave their brains on the factory gate.

  45. getahead
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    The public sector buys all too many items from overseas. The public sector should be expected to buy in-country or explain why it is unable to.
    The purchase of the new American fighter planes has turned out to be a disaster. Surely this sort of aircraft is something we could have built at Warton.

  46. M Davis
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    British consumers should ‘Buy British’ if at all possible, obviously depending on the quality of the goods. Typing in ‘british made goods’ will get you a host of sites, including this one:

    http://www.britishproductsdirectory.co.uk/

  47. PaulDirac
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely right, but there is a long list which has a “hyper waste”label:
    * The JSF F-35 Lightening II, costing about $167m EACH
    * HS2 which will top 70bn for very little benefit
    * Sea full of useless wind turbines, which incidentally produced between 0% and 5% during the last very cold (maximum demand) but windless weeks
    * We can throw in third runway at Heathrow (where the taxpayer will foot the bill for all traffic enhancement work, between 5-15bn)
    * the hugely expensive Hinkley point which will make large numbers of us fuel poor.

  48. fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    SNP and Labour planning to cause problems regarding Article 50. Sturgeon threatening once more to have another referendum on independence. Bring it on Nicola. We just may be able to see the back of you.

  49. Ken Moore
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Steel making and the manufacture of building products are both energy intensive industries.
    Might I commend Peter Lilley’s excellent work ‘300 billion – The cost of the climate change act’.

    I do hope Mrs May is aware of the pressing need for a sane energy policy.ie one that doesn’t ruin our remaining manufacturing industry.

    http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2016/12/CCACost-Dec16.pdf

  50. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    The private sector takes into account price signals, such as the fall in sterling, to adjust its procurement policy. The public sector is to some extent immune to such pressures – after all, it’s not their own money that they are spending.

    If a country receiving foreign aid cannot manufacture an item of capital equipment itself, it is likely to want to import cheaply rather than from the donor. For example, if an overhead gantry crane is needed for a container yard, the country receiving the aid is likely to want to procure it from China, so that there money left over for (say) a signalling system.

    If we look at post WW2 industrial strategies, the form seems to be that State financing of seedcorn research and prototypes is of benefit, but investment and production are best left to the private sector. Mrs May is merely yet another Tory Wet.

  51. Peter D Gardner
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    I suggest Mrs May should include in her Article 50 letter a request for early agreement that UK should be exempt from the EU’s Public Procurement rules for projects completing later than two years from the date of the letter. It could be agreed by a qualified majority vote in the European Council without waiting for the final Brexit agreement.

  52. Peter D Gardner
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    My second suggestion is that early agreement should be reached with the EU to reduce UK’s contributions to EU aid programs in stages to zero within two years, again requiring only QMV in the European Council or perhaps an MoU.
    As for the UK’s own absurd legislation, you know what should be done.

  53. stred
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    It was good to read that Mrs May has at last realised that, if we reduce the number of foreign builders coming to live here, we will need to train some natives to do the job and technical colleges will be created again. However, why has someone in the PR department decided to call these ‘builders universities’? Possibly, some savings could be made in the civil service. This must be pleasing to the Pimlico plumber who backed the court case and was worried that his team of EU graduate tap fixers would be decimated if the referendum succeeded.

    The smart meter quango is still spending a lot advertising the advantages of these and how they will be installed at no cost to the consumer. Except, of course that the £5bn will be added to every consumer’s bill. Their PR dept came up with a wonderful description for all the smart meters put in so far which only work for one energy supplier. ‘Stranded assets’ for useless waste must be essential language for the non-functionaries.

  54. am
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Trump said America first. Nothing wrong with May saying Britain first. Sample policy could include: any cars purchased for use by gov departments must be manufactured in the UK.

  • 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.

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