Following Peter Mandelson’s manufacturing focused speech yesterday, Gordon Brown has added a few more promises of interest to the industry in his own address to the Labour Party Conference today.
The Prime Minister introduced a new national investment corporation which he says will be set up to provide finance for growing manufacturers. A £1 billion innovation fund will back the creativity and inventions that are essential to the economy, he said.
The news was welcomed by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, which pointed out that it had itself called for the manifestation of such an initiative in its Manufacturing Our Future guidance report in July this year. But it warned that the NIC must be significantly more effective than other finance schemes government has instigated.
“If today’s announcements build on the extension of the scrappage scheme and are designed as a more active approach to supporting industry then they will be welcomed by manufacturers,” said EEF director of policy Steve Radley.
“But the devil will be in the detail,” he added. “If it simply adds to the plethora of schemes already in existence then manufacturers will continue to hit the same hurdles as they try and grow into truly global businesses.”
Brown put forth three principles upon which Britain’s reemerged economy will be based under a continuing Labour government: ‘That in future finance must always be the servant of people and industry and not their master’; ‘That our future economy must be a green economy’; and ‘that we must realise all of Britain’s talent if we are to lead and succeed’.
“The best way finance can serve our country now is to help ensure that the inventions and innovations pioneered in Britain are developed and manufactured in Britain,” he said.
He also reiterated his commitment to vocational training and apprenticeships and declared a Labour government will create over a quarter of a million new green British jobs.
The rest of Brown’s speech was focussed on issues like cleaning up the banks and parliament, punishing trouble makers from the underclass and promoting the NHS. He was keen to point out that Labour wants to help middle England whereas the Conservative Party simply wants to service the ‘needs’ of the wealthiest residents of the UK. He repeated a variant of the line “change that benefits the hard working majority, not the privileged few” consistently throughout his address.