Letter: Why goods are our best export

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THE DECLINE of Britain is even more serious than stated by Chris Waller (Letters, 10 July).

Numbers employed in manufacturing fell by 35 per cent from 1979 to 1991 (7,258,000 to 4,739,000 - HMSO Annual Abstract of Statistics). Already alarmed at the decline by 1984, the House of Lords Select Committee (headed by Lord Aldington) stated that 'service industry cannot substitute for manufacturing because many services are dependent upon manufacturing and only 20 per cent of its services are tradeable overseas.'

The then Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, rubbished this report as ''. . . a mixture of special pleading dressed up as analysis and assertion masquerading as evidence' (Mansion House, October 1985). Did he and the Treasury know better than the 100 or so industrialists giving evidence to the Aldington Committee, including Lords Kearton and Weinstock and Sir John Harvey-Jones?

Many of the 35 per cent will never work again in products which are 'tradeable overseas'. Some will never work again.

W R Haines

London SE26

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