World Trade

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 14th June 2007.

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Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Chancellor of the Exchequer 10:30 am, 14th June 2007

The hon. Gentleman is conveniently forgetting that in two recessions under the Conservative Government, not 1 million but 3 million manufacturing jobs were lost, and that manufacturing went down from 7 million to 4 million during the period of a Conservative Government. He also knows that in every advanced industrial country, a restructuring is taking place—in America, the rest of Europe and Japan—because there is a shift of manufacturing activity to China and Asia. He knows also that Asia is now out-producing Europe.

The question is which economies are going to adjust, modernise, reform and have modern manufacturing strength to enable them, if not to create additional jobs, to have additional wealth as a result of manufacturing industry. I believe that in aerospace and pharmaceuticals, in information and technology and the creative industries, and even in the modernisation of industries such as steel, we are showing that by high levels of investment—and now high levels of training, with apprenticeships and new people coming into these industries with skills—we can compete with the best in the world. I hope that there will be all-party support for building modern manufacturing strength.