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Page last updated at 08:53 GMT, Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Can manufacturing save the economy?

During last year's budget, Chancellor George Osborne said the government would "put fuel into the tank of the British economy" and said that manufacturing would be key to this.

The Today programme's Evan Davis visited HydraPower Dynamics in Birmingham where managing director Patrick Brown explained how setting up a supply chain is difficult and takes a long time.

"Suppliers are critical," he said, and described how they had to reinvent their company and are "constantly changing to suit the environment".

Lord Digby Jones, who is from the area, said that kick starting manufacturing is "difficult but not impossible.

"There has to be the political will and not just fine talk."

Sir Nick Scheele, former president and CEO of Ford Motor Company, told Evan Davis that in building a supply chain, "if create a centre it will attract others", citing the "good example" of the Silicon Fen in Cambridge where many high tech businesses have set up.

He said that a good test will be to see if suppliers to the new Jaguar Land Rover plant will relocate to its new factory near Wolverhampton.

"We have a depressed economy," he explained, noting the over-capacity in Europe of the automotive industry.

He added that "until people take the initiative and invest their capital, they will want to see that existing capital facilities are being appropriately utilised so it will take some time".

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