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Unfortunately, successive governments have been happy to see our self-sufficiency drip away until we are virtually held to ransom by globalisation and cheap labour. As a nation we will always need steel - we have several plants that produce specialist products, such as razor blades - but we can no longer build a ship of any size, from British steel, produced using British coal. All of these industries have collapsed in just 30 years, and governmental strategy has catered for just that. We cannot support industry using subsidy because the EU forbids it - well, Italy, France and Spain, I suspect, simply ignore that. I really believe that we must retain the ability to build a ship, catch and land our own fish, make our own steel, produce our own trains, extract our own coal, not necessarily to compete in the export market but to maintain the skills and not have to genuflect to a world economy fired predominantly by cheap labour.

John Major signed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1994 which forbade competitive subsidies which would impact upon fellow World Trade Organisation members, but my view is that this does not stretch to retaining a small part of an industry for domestic purposes, so we should seek to keep open a shipyard, maintain a coal pit to an operable level, and retain some steel production capacity at places like Redcar.

We have also allowed cheap labour to weaken the ability to earn at the lower end of the scale and seen the standard of living be diluted drastically over a generation.

Sorry, if I have gone on a bit but 50% of the British population is not graduate calibre and some people should be allowed to become skilled producers of steel, and wire for that matter.

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A certain Mr Ed Miliband, when he was Minister for Energy and Climate Change signed the death warrant for a lot of industry such as Redcar with his legislation aimed at reducing our CO2 emissions to nil. Not that Labour will accept any responsibility for that piece of madness will they? And yes, I know, the Tory opposition voted for it as well.

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and here was me thinking it was to do with the price of steel dropping through the floor due to a bigger supply than demand when all along it was down to Ed Miliband.  He stopped being minister for Energy and Climate change a year before SIS took over and reopened the plant.  Ergo they must have known the regulations in place .   typical tory guff

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And the cost of manufacturing the steel has nothing to do with the cost of the energy required to produce the same steel then? You must be an economics graduate PJ (not). Perhaps SIS were hoping that Call me Dave etc would do something to get rid of the stupid legislation (some hope with Dave being under his green wife's thumb).

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Right so its Samantha Camerons fault the demand for steel in China fell at the same time as China began producing lots of its own steel,  powerful woman.

 

I still think it has more to do with China than Mrs. Cameron.

 

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/08/12/uk-china-yuan-steel-exclusive-idUKKCN0QH1C720150812

 

Even countries where neither Mr. Miliband nor Mrs. Cameron have had any influence on steel production are struggling, India for instance

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/visakhapatnam/Falling-Chinese-steel-prices-worry-domestic-steelmakers/articleshow/48536324.cms

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The global need for steel is falling due to increased recycling. The new steel that is required is being produced by the cheapest producers obviously. Are you saying that energy costs don't come into the equation PJ?

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Not at all but I am sure China has energy costs too.  Read the articles, China has flooded the market and driven prices down which has affected steel prices globally.  Nothing to do with Miliband or Samantha Camerons green thumb.  

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The concern here is the loss of our industrial capacity and the skills that go with it. Whilst it may be the case in a global market, that cheaper foreign labour can produce cheaper products; what happens if, in the case of conflict, that sources, such as China dry up ?

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But this is a very valid point, just as with our merchant fleet which was found to be threadbare when pressed into service for the Falklands.We have already found out what poor value for money selling our utilities has been with increased prices ,especially when sold to foreign companies.

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You don't have to "be at war" with a Country for trade to dry up; as Putin has discovered through sanctions. We should never rely totally on external supplies which can become insecure; and still require the capability and skills to fall back on our own resources, however limited.

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we can't even grow enough food to feed ourselves let alone become self sufficient in every other manufacturing and production method.  It would have to run at a huge loss for many many years just in case we sometime down the road should need it.  Not happening.  We have to rely on imports as we consume far more than the country can produce.

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You cannot expect private companies to open factories, train and employ and retain staff, all the time losing what would amount to billions of pounds, for an unspecified amount of time,  simply to make sure that we have the means to produce stuff at some unknown time in the future in the case of a completely imaginary world event which may or may not ever happen.  That is insane and you know it.

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Sounds like you are describing Trident. It is essential that we retain some capacity to produce power and products, and of course to maintain skills. That doesn't mean we have to try to compete globally on a manufacturing level - two completely different points. The latter is governed by the World Trade Organisation - see my earlier post. We have been running the NHS at a massive loss for many years without trying hard enough to recruit and train local people or trying hard enough to ensure only those that are entitled to use it have access. Successive governments have wasted squillions of pounds on all sorts of nonsense - O2 Arena, institutional computer systems, youth 'employment' schemes, subsidising our 'private' railways, ID cards, EU membership, warning the markets that we're going to sell gold off so the price drops, selling Royal Mail off (and undervaluing it), etc - so spending a few quid retaining some skills and production capacity makes perfect sense.

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Ha, it would cost billions to keep running ALL of the industrial production required to be self sufficient.  I agree that governments do make huge mistakes and waste a lot of money but no company is going to run at a loss for what could be decades just in case we need to call on its services sometime in the future as cover against some may or may not happenstance.  Stupid idea and unworkable.  Next you will be suggesting we reopen all our coal, iron, copper and tin mines at more than a squillion (sic) pounds cost to the country, and train miners and stockpile resources, just in case.  We can't produce the power we need to light and heat our homes so what next , nuclear power stations in every county?  a squillion (sic) windmills covering the land?. That would impact on food production so even bigger shortfalls in our ability to feed ourselves. Just listing former mistakes doesn't justify making an even bigger one now.

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The problem with jobs disappearing is the benefit culture it creates which is probably more costly than subsiding industry to keep it working .At least if people are working & getting a decent wage they have money to spend in the local economy & a sense of pride & self worth.Government policies of topping poor wages up with benefits & sanctioning the use of zero hours contracts are not good financially or for the morale of the people who want to work.

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Right so let's build a load of state run factories and manufacture everything we need to become self sufficient, regardless how much it costs the country. We could convert all golf courses and other leisure spaces into farmland, compulsory purchase the lot and then train thousands of farmers to compete with our existing farmers who are getting about a penny s pint for milk as it is. In short, we tried splendid isolation back when we were a true world super power and it didn't work, it's got no chance now we are a second or third tier nation.

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