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Exports are the key, Clegg tells manufacturers
10:20am Friday 1st March 2013 in Business News
COMPANIES must continue to innovate and tap into overseas markets if Britain is to drive its way out of tough economic times, Nick Clegg has told business leaders.
The Deputy Prime Minister said: “The harsh truth is our domestic market cannot be the sole engineer of growth, for the foreseeable future.’’ He called on small and medium firms to take advantage of trade with the emerging markets.
However, he also accepted the Government needed to tackle the volatility of high energy prices affecting businesses and domestic households and the impending bottleneck in power generation, at the end of the decade.
Mr Clegg was speaking at the annual Manufacturing Summit at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire, organised by Vince Cable’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
He told delegates from across the industry that manufacturing was making steady progress despite the stark economic climate.
Mr Clegg was full of praise for the achievements of the British car industry, which meant the country had become a net exporter of cars for the first time since the early 1970s. Sunderland-based Nissan accounts for about one third of all British-made cars shipped overseas.
He called on small and medium-sized firms to follow the lead of the big companies and tap into emerging markets in places such as Asia and South America.
Although money was tight for investment he said that fact had forced the Coalition Government to be more particular about where it lent financial support.
On that theme, he said he was leading efforts to give back greater powers of job creation and growth to Britain’s big cities, adding the “de-centralisation genie is out of the bottle – there’s no turning back.”
He said the Government had swept away the regional development agencies, and brought in local enterprise partnerships led by local business and local authorities.
Mr Clegg also praised the new City Deals which are about to hand decision-making powers to regions such as Tees Valley and Sunderland.