John Major may be forced to take manufacturing's plight more seriously than his predecessor. Those affected are pillars of the Tory Party, says David Lipsey.
John Major comes from a background in services: father, entertainment (trapeze artist); self, finance (banker). But he could hardly be less concerned about manufacturing industry than was his predecessor (industrial chemist). During Mrs Thatcher's early years in Downing Street a passionate debate on British manufacturing ebbed and flowed. In 1980 two economists, John Kay and Michael Forsyth, wrote an influential article in Fiscal Studies. They argued that as oil rose in economic importance, manufacturing would decline. High oil output would lead to a strong pound which would price manufacturing out of international markets.