Huge trade deficit in car manufacture shows risks of privatisation of major industries

The Tories have always boasted that privatisation of major industries has been good for the economy and good for Britain.   A rain-check on the history of  Thatcher’s mass programme of privatisation now suggests otherwise.   Who thinks the privatisation of energy, or of water, or of telecoms (or of the Post Office) has been a roaring success either for the economy or for consumers, as opposed to an opportunity for exploitation and a rip-off for customers?   Much less mentioned, but equally if not more significant, is what has happened to the privatised car industry.   It still suffers from a massive trade deficit, with £48bn of vehicles and parts imported last year – that is nearly half of Britain’s net manufacturing trade deficit – with profits and control lost abroad probably for ever.   A worse deal than that is difficult to imagine.

Blair’s support for privatisation allowed the former British Leyland to collapse in April 2005, leading to the loss of 10,000 jobs in and around the Longbridge plant near Birmingham and in effect to the demise of British carmaking.   It is true that, under foreign ownership, production has risen from a low in 2009 of fewer than 1m vehicles to more than 1.5m vehicles last year, 80% of which were exported.   Sunderland now makes more cars than Italy.   But there are now Indian, Japanese and German owners so that the UK car industry now serves the interests of its owners and their countries, not the fundamental UK interest.    Indeed there have long been concerns about a hollowing out of the supply chain and the average local content of vehicles assembled in Britain is about a third only, compared with about two-thirds in Germany.   In the past 20 years Britain has lost almost all its large top-tier suppliers – Dunlop, Lucas and Automotive Products – which all but disappeared. leaving only GKN as a leader in power-train technology.

A classic example of what has been lost by Tory policy in treating world-class British companies as baubles for sale in the international market to the highest buyer, irrespective of the loss to the British economy, concerns the electric supercharger.   It was conceived in Essex and is British innovation at its best.   It will soon find its way into top-end cars.   Sadly it is now French.   Valeo, the French automotive supplier, bought the technology from Controlled Power Technologies in Basildon in 2011.   This e-supercharger is just the last in a long line of great British inventions where the UK has led the world, but because the industrial structure into which it needs to be fitted has been sold off, it ends up in foreign hands to the permanent disadvantage of Britain.   What is needed is builders of long-term industrial market share (Labour), not get-rich-quick barrow-boy salesmen (Tories).

4 thoughts on “Huge trade deficit in car manufacture shows risks of privatisation of major industries

  1. hum honk honk look at dla look at pips isn’t it rather strange they taking this benefit away from us strangely labours quite on this but it brought cars for the disabled now you have to be in 12 hrs volantry work lovely jubbly you fit for work but strange no ones shouting out about this going back ther was over 600.000 more id forgot the true figure but that was keeping dealers ticking over but now that’s going quickly but selling off our jewals wasn’t the way forward but greed got to most even that road sweeper interviewed after thatchers election who did you vote for sadly he replied thatcher why because she allowed hin to buy his council house sadly now under landlord like most but selling of our jewals has taken jobs less pay and most of all takinh the monies to offshore accounts making it tripl;e dip yep you lot done us proud you all should hang your heads in shame at whots happened on all your watches broke at last the tory way hold on Wonga give that loan at a dreadfull rate yep we broke jeff3

  2. Mr Meacher, we in the west are ruled by an Oligarchy, which will progress by its very nature to incorporate all of the wealth of those nations whose misfortune it is to be ruled by these self serving, and, to my view predominantly evil men and women. You must know this. Democracy is become a PR word, largely meaningless, and used entirely to manufacture consent. Said consent will soon no longer be needed, as the Praetorian Guards (Metropolitan Police etc) are increasingly militarised and our military is reduced as the use of mercenaries increased using funds stolen from the people through the medium of Banking fraud, court fraud, puppet parliamentarians, Oxford and Cambridge, and the whole democratic charade. Virtually all billionaires arrived at such great wealth through fraud: We have IMF Oligarchs (look to Russia for very obvious examples). We have the money creation scam, brought about by the creation of the FED (lucky for those crooks that the Titanic sank eh?).

    We have the complete collapse of law and accountability. A national Army, Navy, and Airforce casually deployed in the interests of Banking and Corporate Oligarchs, paid for by money stolen from the people through wholly illegitimate taxation. We have medication minus consent whereby an ingredient of Rat Poison, and a well known sedative (Prozac) is added to our drinking water. An unnatural chemical created by Industries involved in the production of Glyphosphate (itself highly toxic) and Aluminium. Too it is used in the production of Atomic material: Though itself a Halide its unusual chemical structure makes it highly useful as it has a propensity to collect heavy particles (imagine what this is doing to us). Fracking whereby Nuclear waste is disposed of underground where it pollutes and endangers our right to clean water: Courtesy of the gangsters in Parliament: Are they gangsters or merely stupid and irresponsible.

    Then we have the Islamic state. ISIL, ISIS, does the name matter? They are mercenaries waging war for us: UK/US/Israel/Saudi Arabia/Qatar/UAE. The usual crowd. The pipeline whores for the City of London/Wall Street criminals.

    Foreign aid? Another slush fund for Business Oligarchy. The US’ EU experiment has really paid dividends with Leyland, which company actually made rather good cars, sold off on the cheap just like Landsley and Hunts NHS Sale of the Century. Perhaps Hughie Green should have been in the sicko cabinet office, what do you say?

    The Oligarchal Game Show, I can see it now. With Michael Miles, Leslie Crowther, Hughie and even Brucie. The only contestants would be Oligarchs, and they have to sing or dance or kill a million Muslims while Simon Cowell and his Whoever Celebs judge who wins what Public asset. e can sit and cheer like the dummies we apparently are (well, we still vote for these Psychopathic nonentities (in any human sense)……

    Awwww Enough. I could go on forever writing the obscenities carried out daily by your caring sharing DWP or whatever lethal agency comes to mind. Vaccines (poison: Mercury and Squalene)..Ooops there I go again.

    Perhaps I should write a set of books listing some of the crimes ongoing particularly since WW1.

  3. Taking into account the size of our population, we must be one of the most inventive countries in the world; what with inventions and discoveries going back centuries right up until today. (More of this should be taught in schools, so that children grow up with an incentive to come up with something themselves and also instilled with a sense of pride in this much maligned country of ours).

    Yet, due to over cautious banks and other investors, we still haven’t learnt how to capitalise on all this talent.

    When artworks are under threat of being sold and exported, all hell breaks loose; lots of publicity, campaigns started up and money raised to keep the works in Britain. Yet when it comes to clever things such as the “electronic supercharger” you mention, most people have never even heard of it!

    We should make far more of our home grown talent and the companies that come up with ground breaking technologically advanced items, and not let them go overseas just so that a few people can make a quick buck.

    Perhaps we need more controls, even resorting to laws, to protect our country’s interests.

  4. Your not wrong and here goes another one:

    “OPERATORS

    FedEx has made an offer to acquire TNT Express, valuing the business at €4.4bn (£3.2bn. Both parties said that the existing employment terms at TNT Express will be respected and TNT Express’ European headquarters would remain in Amsterdam, as would its hub facilities in Liege. It is expected that the offer would close in the first half of 2016. TNT Express will remain as a brand name for what both parties describe as “an appropriate period”. Combining both companies would create a business with a global turnover of €49.7bn based on 2014 revenues.”

    “Yodel has made its fifth loss in a row, recording a pre-tax loss for the year ended 30 June 2014 of £73m – equivalent to losing £1.4m a week. The result was an improvement on the £98m pre-tax loss made in 2013 and turnover at the parcel delivery firm also increased from £379m a year earlier to £385m. If the contribution from Yodel’s joint venture with PayPoint, Collect Plus, is included, then turnover was £403m (2013: £389m).”

    And so on…………………………

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