'Bring manufacturing home to Gloucestershire' urges MP
MINISTERS have been urged to bring "manufacturing back home" by a Gloucestershire MP in a drive to reboot the economy.
Gloucester MP Richard Graham told the Commons that firms which relocated abroad for cut-price labour or relaxed environmental laws were finding it was not as cheap as they thought.
And the Tory MP argued there was an opportunity for a resurgence of "Made in Britain" products.
It comes as aviation engineering specialists Future AM, based at Staverton near Cheltenham, invested more than £1 million in new machinery and are embarking on a massive expansion programme in their research, design and production arms between now and 2015.
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But another Tory MP has criticised the time it takes for decisions to be made on major projects, such as the third runway at Heathrow.
Neil Carmichael, MP for Stroud, stressed the need to sweep away some planning restrictions and the "reticence to make big and bold decisions" needed to deliver confident signs of economic growth.
Mr Carmichael also said Local Enterprise Partnerships had to prove they are up to the job before being given "a huge bucketful of money".
Speaking during a parliamentary debate, Mr Graham said although manufacturing had halved under the previous Labour government, Gloucestershire operated at almost double the country's current economic output for the sector at 20 per cent.
And apprenticeships were "absolutely critical" to the manufacturing industries, he added.
Since May, 2010, around 3,000 of the vocational training places had been created in Gloucester and more than 10,000 across the county, MPs heard.
Mr Graham said: "The Government have a significant opportunity to rebalance the economy by bringing UK manufacturing back home.
"Companies that went overseas for cheap labour or relaxed environmental laws have often found their new location is not as cheap as they had imagined."
Mr Carmichael said manufacturing was also important to his constituency with one in five jobs involved in the sector.