Monday, 8 September 2008

Manufacturing spin

Gordon Brown has taken his Cabinet to Birmingham today. It's the first time the British Cabinet has met outside Downing Street or Chequers since David Lloyd George took his top team to Inverness.

So is it a political stunt or a genuine attempt to show that the Government understands the problems faced by people in the real world?

By coincidence, the Government is launching a revised manufacturing strategy today.

Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy, on his way to Birmingham today, said: “Wales has a long history when it comes to manufacturing industries and in recent years we’ve seen a significant transformation."

This "transformation" hasn't always been good news for Ministers. In 1997, around 215,000 people in Wales worked in manufacturing. The latest figures show that number is down to 154,000.

Since the Welsh Assembly came into being, in 1999, around a quarter of manufacturing jobs have disappeared.

Curiously, these figures don't appear in Paul Murphy's press release, which although highlighting manufacturing prefers to focus on the increase in the number of overall jobs.

The Wales Office even forgot to highlight the positive side - the growth in manufacturing output in Wales comfortably outperformed the UK in the first quarter of 2008.

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