Foxconn beware: 'Made in Britain' is back

Companies are bringing their manufacturing to this green and sceptred isle, reckons Vince Cable. As long as it's not in London...

by Emma Haslett

It looks like offshoring is making way for... er, onshoring - or that's according to business secretary Vince Cable, who says small firms are leading the charge to bring manufacturing back home.

In a speech at the headquarters of Numatic - it of the cheery 'Henry' range of vacuum cleaners - Cable said results of a survey by the Manufacturing Advice Service show 11% of small firms have 'reshored' manufacturing over the past 12 months, vs 5% who had moved it overseas.

Of those who said they'd moved it back, a quarter said it was because manufacturing in this country is higher quality, while others cited shorter lead times and faster delivery. Among those who have returned to the UK are the makers of Raspberry Pi computers, Aston Martin, and Pot Noodle maker Symington’s.

What's interesting is that there's evidence consumers are increasingly putting weight on the 'Made in Britain' label. As Cable pointed out, a survey by Which? last summer found 'nearly one in five [consumers] said one of the reasons they trusted or respect [brands] was that they sold locally produced or British made goods'.

One of George Osborne's oft-stated goals early on in the Coalition's life was to 'bring back Made in Britain'. With the closure of the Portsmouth ship yard last month, the UK's industrial era is all but over. But the smaller, fiddlier, more high-tech manufacturers are picking up where the industrial firms left off.

And what’s more, the majority of high-tech manufacturers are based outside London. So Cable will like that…

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