Every firm in MT's Awards for Manufacturing 2003 is ready to take on all-comers. Reports by Simon Caulkin.
When James Dyson announced in August that he was transferring his washing machine manufacture from Wiltshire to Malaysia, the news was greeted with resigned nods and sighs (apart from a few ritual trade-union explosions).
What can you expect with UK labour costs? ... inevitable structural shift ... sterling exchange rate ... unionised workforce ... This resignation is echoed in thinking at policy levels. A recent report on manufacturing by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a left-leaning think tank, predicted that UK manufacturing, already down to a 16% share of the workforce, would continue to shed jobs. By 2050, manufacturing will employ only one in 20 and produce output of just 10% of GDP, half today's proportion.