Will the UK get left behind?
After a recent trip to the Motek automation show in Stuttgart, one thing was apparent. While figures may suggest that the German economy is through the recession, it was hard to find exhibitors that shared the optimism. Things are still tough and are likely to remain so for some time.
For its part, the UK Government has pumped huge amounts of cash into the financial system to cope with the downturn. As times turned tougher for industry, there were job losses. The German Government, however, decided to subsidise companies, essentially allowing them cut labour costs while retaining their workforce.
This support – available to SMEs to global powerhouses alike – has prevented job losses of the scale seen in the UK; it has also kept skilled people in place. Critically, this approach should allow German companies to meet the surge in demand once the upturn really kicks in. The big question is whether that will be the case for UK companies?
We know – and the Government is now admitting the fact – that manufacturing and engineering is a major part of the UK economy. Future plans – whatever the colour of Government – must recognise this.
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