IT was heartening to read Lauren Pyrah’s exclusive report that the County Durham manufacturing firm Ebac is hoping to start making washing machines (Echo, Sept 26).

However, I was shocked to read that, at present, all our washing machines are imported.

No wonder this country can’t balance the books. Maybe the Government should be giving serious thought about how to encourage more manufacturers to manufacture goods for export instead of bleating on about housebuilding being the kickstart the economy needs.

Housebuilding only passes our own money around and obviously necessitates even more imports such as timber from Scandinavia and tiles from Spain and Italy.

As anyone in Weardale will tell you, even the cement is made in France now.

Dave Quinn, Howden-le-Wear.