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UK haemorrhaged 600,000 manufacturing jobs in past decade

Contributor: Jude Brimble |

Government must invest in industry or our children will pay the price, says union. The UK has haemorrhaged more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs in the past decade, a new study by GMB has shown. Comment from Jude Brimble, GMB National Secretary for Manufacturing.

Figures show that 619,000 jobs in the sector disappeared from 2006 to 2016, a massive fall of 17 percent. Between them the lost jobs have meant that £11.3 billion less has been paid in manufacturing wages in real-terms. Jude Brimble, GMB National Secretary for Manufacturing. In 2006 the UK supported 3.5 million permanent and temporary manufacturing jobs –more than 12 percent of the all British employment. By 2016, that had slumped to just 2.9 million, or 9.3 percent of the total.

Every region in the UK has experienced a decline in manufacturing employment. Two badly affected regions – Scotland and the North East – have lost 22 percent of manufacturing jobs. The worst affected region – the West Midlands has lost almost 100,000 manufacturing jobs. GMB demands whoever forms the next Government invests in UK industries and avoid damaging tariffs on British goods to help reverse this dangerous decline.

Jude Brimble, GMB National Secretary for Manufacturing, said: “The UK is haemorrhaging manufacturing jobs – and that is a massive problem for both our workers and our economy. We should cherish our manufacturing sector, but instead successive governments have driven it into the ground through a lack of investment and tendering processes that hamper our homegrown businesses.

Manufacturing wages are 20 percent higher than the national average, and the sector is a keystone of the wider economy. These are jobs worth fighting for. Whoever wins the next election must develop a procurement strategy supporting UK industry, build strong British supply chains and a balanced energy policy to keep our country’s lights on. If this sad decline is not addressed then post-Brexit Britain and the next generation will surely pay the price.”