Home News UK & World News

Back British firms, urges Miliband

Labour leader Ed Miliband is to call on the Government to back British business with a more patriotic economic policy.

He will say that successive administrations have failed to grasp how important "pride and patriotism" are to ensuring the country's manufacturing sector can thrive and create jobs for the economy.

He will also back calls for a Made in Britain mark to celebrate goods produced in the UK.

In a speech to the EEF National Manufacturing Conference in London, Mr Miliband will argue that a strong manufacturing base is central to the "responsible capitalism" the Government must encourage in the wake of the financial crisis.

He will say the Government should be more supportive of UK manufacturing and engineering centres, even when they are foreign owned.

There has been anger recently that thousands of jobs at Canadian-owned Bombardier in Derby were put on the line after an important contract to build Thameslink trains was awarded to German rival Siemens.

Mr Miliband will say: "We should not be embarrassed about the need for more patriotism in our economic policy. It is patriotic to have an active government using all the means at its disposal to give competitive British firms every chance to succeed.

"That patriotism should be rooted in our knowledge that British firms can and do compete with the best in the world, in the belief that they deserve our backing, and in supporting fair competition so that British firms can make it on to the pitch to compete in the first place.

"Opposition to protectionism was right. Propping up lame ducks or putting up trade barriers is something to which we will never return because protectionism is what governments reach for when they don't believe firms can compete. But opposition to industrial activism was wrong. Too often opposition to protectionism became an excuse for believing the best way to help British business succeed was to stand aside."

Backing an initiative by kitchen appliance firm Stoves and Co for a new Made in Britain mark, Mr Miliband will say they are "three words we don't hear enough, or see enough".