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The Prospect manufacturing survey

Many of the old industries have gone and its image is still poor, but British manufacturing has reinvented itself over the past 20 years and remains an essential part of the economy—as the government's new strategy paper acknowledges. The story is no longer one of grimy factories, but of high technology "knowledge industries"

By Michael Prest   October 2008

What does manufacturing mean to Britain today? Britain’s great economic story of the last decade has been the global ascendancy of our finance sector. Yet with the credit crisis exposing our overdependence on financial services and huge new markets emerging across the developing world, manufacturing has been pushed—rather to its surprise—to centre stage.

Today, British manufacturing is much more than the faded vestiges of the industrial revolution. The Office of National Statistics defines a manufacturing business as a company that earns more than half of its revenue from making things. By this count, there are now around 130,000 manufacturing businesses…

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