Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Government policy on manufacturing

The government has been urged to do more to promote the UK's manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Opening a Westminster Hall debate on 6 March 2012, Conservative MP Neil Carmichael highlighted the fall in manufacturing output in recent decades.

The coalition's manufacturing strategy highlights ways to boost growth in the sector, pointing out that it creates a fifth of the UK's national output and employs four million people across the country.

Mr Carmichael said that more needed to be done to ensure close links between schools and businesses.

He also lamented the fact that only 2% of girls thought that physics was a useful subject to study - saying that many competitor countries had higher numbers of women working in manufacturing.

A recent survey of the sector showed growth was being held back by rising oil costs, with companies facing prices that were rising at the fastest rate in 19 years.

Shadow business minister Iain Wright accused the government of "drift and a lack of co-ordination", leading to over reliance on competitor countries for raw materials and innovation.

However newly appointed Business Minister Norman Lamb said that manufacturing remained a key priority for the coalition.

He pointed to the day's announcement that car manufacturer Nissan is to build its new car - the Invitation - at its Sunderland factory.

Mr Lamb also insisted that there was a "parity of esteem" between manufacturing and engineering and academic subjects.

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