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LETTER: Bring back manufacturing

Readers' letters | Published:

A reader calls for manufacturing to be brought back to the UK.

Manufacturing

The Prime Minister has said that the personal protective equipment (PPE) pipeline is being substantially increased, to secure the supplies needed to combat Covid-19. The demand for face masks and sanitisers, for example, will no doubt continue to be huge for some time yet. Furthermore, these are products that we must always be sure that we can obtain, in the long term.

I notice that the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has begun a $653 million programme to subsidise companies if they shift production out of China, back to Japan and other more secure countries in South East Asia. They have started the programme with PPE, but will move on to other areas.

Doubtless Westminster is also giving thought to these wider issues, but probably too little and too late, as seems to be the pattern.

There are limits to globalisation, and obvious limits to the degree to which we can rely on the Chinese regime. Some of our local MPs are keen supporters of "taking back control", and are probably as concerned as many of their constituents by the hold that China has over a wide range of our essential supplies. Surely, we should be able to act more broadly and effectively now, being fully "free" from the EU at the end of the year, to correct these matters ?

So, could our MPs, and others, consider lobbying the Government to move towards a programme, a specific, announced programme, similar to that of Japan, that diversifies from reliance on China and other questionable sources? A brave, first step has already been made with 5G provider Huawei.

Furthermore, if we can repatriate some manufacturing, and PPE should be just the start, we should ensure that Shropshire gets its fair share of that production. This could be a strategic opportunity, especially for Telford and Wrekin, and for Shrewsbury.

John Gemmell, Wem

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