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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 14:28 GMT
What is still made in the UK?
More retailers are moving production offshore
Shoppers are being urged to "Buy British" in an attempt to boost the UK's flagging manufacturing industry. But how feasible is this? We try to assemble a made-in-the-UK shopping list.

As the stalwarts of British manufacturing continue to haemorrhage jobs at home, shoppers are once again being urged to do their patriotic duty.

Political issue
In 1968 - just after devaluation - Harold Wilson introduced the "I'm Backing Britain" campaign
"Buy British" comes the cry from the manufacturing union, Amicus, pointing out that British products need to be bought in the UK if they are going to continue to be made by Britons.

But in days when Dyson, the UK company which pioneered the "bagless" vacuum cleaner, is set to move its manufacturing to the Far East and Japanese-brand cars roll off the product line in Sunderland, who knows which goods are made in the UK?

And defining UK-made can be a pretty complicated business, what with products being made up of components which may have come from both British firms and abroad.

The weekly shop: Supermarket chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda import up to a quarter of their groceries, according to a survey by food policy charity Sustain.

The world in a basket
But as more customers ask for locally produced-lines, whether out of patriotic duty or concern at the distance products travel, stores are displaying the country - and sometimes even county - groceries come from.

UK-based producers include cereal-makers Weetabix, which makes Alpen and Readybrek, among others; Nisa International, wholesalers which cover Marmite, Jacobs, McVities and Sunpak brands; and Pataks and Sharwoods for ethnic ingredients and ready meals. And American companies such as Heinz have production plants in the UK.

Alcohol: As spirits fast catch up with beer and wine in popularity, vodka is one of the drinks du jour. No surprise that Stolichnaya comes from Russia, but Smirnoff is bottled by Diageo in Scotland. But if you want a staunchly British tipple then stick to whisky and gin.

Suited and booted: Once proud-to-be-British companies the likes of Marks and Spencer, Reebok and Kangol boasted that their clothing lines were UK-made. Today tens of thousands of jobs have gone in the clothing and textiles industry as production shifts overseas to cut costs.

But trying to narrow down brands which are still UK-made can be complicated as numerous companies now split production, with some lines made here (some 6bn worth of goods last year) and some offshore.

Motorola plant
Job cuts loom for the UK's mobile phone makers
Mobile phones: As the sale of handsets slows down, mobile phone makers are getting nervous and cutting jobs. UK-made alternatives to popular models such as the French-assembled Trium Mars mobile include the Motorola t191 and Nokia 8810.

Electrical goods: OK, so big ticket items such as TV sets and microwave ovens only crop up on the must-buy list occasionally. But shoppers who want to buy British can pick Sony or Phillips TVs (made in South Wales and England respectively), Hotpoint or Creda washing machines, and Sharp or Panasonic microwaves (all of which are assembled throughout Wales).

Cars: Although many of the UK Government's ministerial cars are made overseas - Ford Mondeos, for instance, are made in Belgium - the following cars are assembled in UK plants: Ford Fiesta; Honda Civic and Accord; Nissan Micra, Primera, and Almera; Peugeot 206; Toyota Corolla and Avensis; Vauxhall Astra; all Jaguar, Land Rover, MG and Rolls Royce/Bentley models; and some Vectras.

Some 3.78 million people were in manufacturing jobs last November, down 150,000 on the previous year. This year, the most pessimistic forecasters expect another 180,000 jobs to go.

Thus shopping may indeed be an altruistic act.

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