Keir Starmer backs manufacturers to lead Britain’s recovery on visit to What More

Labour leader Keir Starmer today backed manufacturers to lead Britain’s recovery, while on a visit to local success story What More in Altham.

The leader added that that Labour would back Britain’s businesses to lead the country’s recovery, as new figures revealed the decline of manufacturing jobs under the Tories.

New research published by Labour shows that the number of jobs in manufacturing fell by 93,000 between the end of 2009 and the end of 2021. This includes 16,000 jobs lost in the North of England and 18,500 jobs lost in the Midlands. Between 2010 and 2020, Germany added nearly one million manufacturing jobs.

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Low investment, a failure to improve productivity, and cuts to skills budgets have all contributed to the UK’s decline, according to Starmer who has set out plans to tackle in order to provide a “vital shot in the arm for our economy.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy MP chat with What More director Tony Grimshaw OBE

Mr Starmer said: "It’s not enough to just leave the EU and think the job is done: we must now make Brexit work. That means backing the places that powered our country to get our economy motoring again.

“For too long the decline of manufacturing has been treated as if it was inevitable and irreversible. I will never accept that. But these figures show how the Government’s failure to back British business has led to a shocking decline in the number of jobs.

“The next Labour government would support our manufacturers with practical plans to buy, make and sell in Britain.

“We would be as ambitious for towns and cities across the country as they are for themselves, investing in skills, technology, and quality jobs - so that people once again feel the benefits of British industry.

“This is personal to me. My dad was a toolmaker, so I know the pride that comes with creating and building things – and the pain felt when the Tories dismantle that hard work. That’s why it’s a crucial part of my contract with the British people, which will build a new Britain that guarantees security, prosperity and respect for all.

“The Government can learn from companies like What More here in Burnley, where investing in technology and products has helped to buck the trend in manufacturing decline.

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“The quality jobs here are a source of local pride. We want to see this replicated all across the country, so that young people don’t feel they have to get out to get on.”

Starmer added that the next Labour government will concentrate on ensuring we “buy, make and sell in Britain”, by handing businesses and communities across the country the tools and skills they need to bring the jobs of the future here.

"Under the leadership of Labour’s Afrasiab Anwar, Burnley Council is investing millions in Burnley College, linking up with employers to ensure the town has the skills and ability to create quality jobs.

"Towns such as Burnley - once a major centre of engineering and the heart of the textiles industry - have powered our country before and have the traditions and the ambition to do so again."