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Friday, 22 March, 2002, 14:38 GMT
British manufacturing: Experts answered your questions
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The slow decline of the British manufacturing industry over the past 20 years has prompted some to question its importance to the economy.

The sector has been in recession for more than a year and any recovery is expected to be slow and painful.

Manufacturing has been overshadowed by the UK's burgeoning services sector, which has been credited as the main engine of economic growth in recent months.

However, industry experts argue that UK manufacturers will survive if they upgrade their machines and develop a more hi-tech way of making products.

Do you think manufacturing is an industry of the past that has little value for the British economy? Do companies in this sector need to change their ways or risk extinction? In 10 years' time, will services continue to drive economic growth? Or will manufacturing stage a comeback?

Our panel of manufacturers and experts in the Midlands answered your questions in a LIVE forum. The forum took place at Peterson Spring, an automotive supplier based in Redditch.

The manufacturers on the panel included Graham Tarbuck, chief executive of Peterson Spring, and Steve Marsh, project director at Hydrapower Dynamics, an engineering company based in Birmingham.

They were joined by Mike Holder, president of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, and Nick Matthews, a principle fellow from the Warwick Manufacturing Group, part of Warwick University.

Union Jack behind image of Ford Dagenham plant

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