Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on manufacturing, made in London on 1st February 1993.
[Mr Major was asked how he could help the manufacturing industry].
I think in what we are doing. I think the Chancellor’s autumn statement, for example, was a great boost for the manufacturing industry, the reduction in interest rates is a great boost for the manufacturing industry, the fact that we increased ECGD was a great boost for the manufacturing industry, the fact that I have just gone abroad taking manufacturers with me has helped them and other Ministers will be doing the same and I will be doing it again. It is also a cultural matter. We do need to get more our best and brightest youngsters out in industry, I do not want them all in the City, journalism, politics or whatever it may be, I want some of them out in industry. And that means you have to break down this distinction that often exists between the academic worker and the skilled worker, we need those skills out in industry and that is what so many of our education reforms are geared to.
Our policies are geared to the year 2000 and beyond, we are going to see more changes in this decade that we have seen in any decade we have lived through, you or I, and much of that, the speed of change will be bewildering because the speed of new technology is accelerating all the time. So if we are going to have a successful manufacturing base we need to be at the leading end of technology, not only do we need to be at the leading end of technology, we need to have the right industrial, commercial, economic and taxation structure to support the development of companies and all those are things we are doing. The belief that you can just do it, as the Labour Party would have, by throwing subsidies here and throwing subsidies there, is ludicrous, you need a strategy that goes right across government.