Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Open up the factories and get Britain moving again
This piece of mine, on how Britain can escape its deepest recession, appears in the First Post
It's certainly not the sort of news that Gordon Brown wanted to hear just before Christmas. Official figures released yesterday show that despite the Brown government‘s efforts to boost the economy, Britain has remained in recession for a record-breaking sixth quarter.
As The First Post's business correspondent Edward Helmore reports today, the economy shrank by 0.2 per cent between July and September - meaning that Britain is now the only G20 nation still mired in recession.
Why have we got it so bad while our European neighbours are already enjoying a return to economic growth? The opposition have of course been quick to pin the blame on Gordon Brown and Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling. But the problem runs deeper than two individuals. The reason why Britain is still in recession, while France and Germany are not, is because of the type of economy we run.
Britain, since the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, has been a country where manufacturing industry - and a diverse, mixed economy, has been sacrificed at the altar of free market dogma. We have allowed important industries to close, or be sold overseas - mistakenly pinning our hopes on a burgeoning financial services sector fuelling long-term economic growth.
Our continental rivals have pursued a more balanced, less-ideological approach. Unlike Britain, France, Germany and Italy have maintained a strong industrial base. Six of the top 14 automobile manufacturers in the world are from those three countries. Europe‘s largest engineering company - Siemens - is German; the largest energy company - EDF - is French and 85 per cent owned by the French government.
You can read the rest of the article here.