Tedious science

September 25, 1998

Do we need a science base? Do we need what Jenkins calls "that defunct concept, a manufacturing base"? Britain's manufacturing exports last year were worth Pounds 170 billion. By comparison, our services exports were worth Pounds 53 billion. Half of the world's largest and most successful corporations are, even now, based on metalworking. Every 100 jobs in manufacturing create 422 other jobs around them, personal and business services create only 147, retail trade only 94. Every year, there are 100,000 new engineering graduates in Japan, and 50,000 in Germany, but only 20,000 in Britain. This year 500,000 industrial apprentices started in Germany; in Britain only 30,000. Are these enough for our needs? How many do we need?

Will Podmore

London E12

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