Moving away from manufacturing weakened the economy

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From: Gerald Hodgson, Spennithorne, Leyburn.

GEORGE Osborne has now told us that, despite serious squeezing of public finances with much more to come, we are still a long way from balancing the books, let alone attacking the accumulated deficit.

I suggest we never will achieve these objectives unless and until we tackle a fundamental weakness. All day long each and every one of us uses manufactured goods. The food we eat, the TV sets we watch, the radios we listen to, the materials from which our houses are built, the computers that use, furniture, textiles and just about everything you can think of are manufactured goods. Yet, despite our history as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing represents just 10 per cent of our economy.

There are encouraging signs that manufacturing is beginning to prosper and grow in this country but a step change is called for. The belated realisation that we need technical skills and apprenticeships is to be welcomed but another factor must be our dysfunctional financial services sector. How is it that foreign countries can be financed to take over most of our really significant manufacturing industry (the automotive and steel industries being prime examples) when our financial system is so short term? The exit strategy seems to be the first thing that investors ask about.

Manufacturing is the foundation of an industrial economy and here in the North of England we have the foundations to build on to make Britain a manufacturing powerhouse again but the huge gap between infrastructure spend in the South East and here in the North must be addressed.

From: George McManus, Whins Lane, Long Riston.

YOUR Editorial (The Yorkshire Post, December 5) repeats the Tory line that Labour bequeathed an economic mess. People know the crisis was not Labour’s fault but the result of worldwide profligate lending and corrupt bankers.

Labour’s proposals in 2010 were to cut the deficit as the Chancellor has done, not to eradicate it as he promised.

The truth is that Labour’s proposals were driven by pragmatism while Tory actions have been driven by dogma. Had Labour been elected, growth would have continued and tax receipts would not have collapsed. Austerity has proven to be the cause of our present problems and Labour should take note. But economic policy driven by dogma will be the ruination of our society.