A return to manufacturing?

As the search continues for ways to end the recession, good ‘old-fashioned’ manufacturing seems to be having a resurgence. Business Secretary Vince Cable says Britain is “beginning to see” a shift towards manufacturing taking a greater share of output. (Of course that could mean that manufacturing is declining, but services are declining faster.)

But in an FT poll of 91 manufacturers in the UK, just 11% said they thought the coalition’s attempts to make manufacturing an ‘engine of growth’ were on track. And a July survey showed that manufacturing has declined unexpectedly.

Indian group Tata, however, is to invest £350m in a new engine factory for Jaguar Land Rover, in Solihull — not a huge amount of money, but reasonably significant and including only £10m of government funds. The investment is apparently driven by anticipated increased vehicle sales to Brazil, Russia and other emerging markets. Tata bought Jaguar Land Rover from Ford in 2008, when the financial crisis made growth in the global market for luxury cars look very unlikely indeed.

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