I have read the document from the Engineering Employers Federation launch, which took place this week, after the autumn statement. Its purpose was to suggest that the measures in the autumn statement, welcome though they may be—the Opposition have welcomed some of them tonight—were nowhere near enough to provide the boost or, more importantly, the long-term strategy which manufacturing industry needs. That was the message of the Engineering Employers Federation.
There is nothing new in that, although the document is new. The federation has been saying such things for months—in some cases, for years. The trade unions have certainly been saying such things for years. If the Government ever intend to listen to what industry says, they need to start listening now.
If we are to develop such a strategy, it must be done at local, national and European level. I have said something about national strategy, and it is worth recalling that efforts are being made even now by local authorities. My local authority, Birmingham city council, and others are trying to do what they can to work with the component suppliers and with firms such as Rover to improve product development, training and research and development. Those efforts need support from central Government. At the moment there is at best a hands-off approach and at worst something even worse: those are the same local authorities which suffer from Government restrictions on local authority autonomy, and on their spending—