MP speaks up for manufacturing

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A SHEFFIELD MP has used a Parliamentary debate to criticise the Government’s policy on manufacturing.

Angela Smith, who represents Penistone and Stocksbridge, spoke during a motion by Labour slamming the Coalition’s economic policy.

Ms Smith praised South Yorkshire’s “very proud manufacturing history”, supported “very strongly” by the work of regional development agency Yorkshire Forward.

But she added: “Much of this is at risk because of the shambolic nature of how this Tory-led Government is now running the Department.”

Ms Smith said her region suffered the “double whammy of the absolute decimation of the coal industry and the serious damage to the steel industry” during the 1980s, adding: “There’s no doubt the economy of South Yorkshire was hit hard the last time the Tories were in power.”

She feared the same pattern was developing, saying short-termism - which she branded “the enemy of manufacturing” - and the lack of plans for growth threatened the local economy.

Ms Smith accused the coalition of sending “mixed messages” and working for its own good rather than what was best for the UK. She added: “Now is the time for brave ministers and brave solutions, to build great companies, to make the banks work for us and not in the interests of the bankers.

Business Minister David Willetts said: “In this coalition Government, we all work together on an agenda to sort out the mess left by the last Labour government.”

The motion was defeated by 323 votes to 245.