2012 is starting well for the economy of the UK. The value of retail sales for January 2012 were up 4.4% on January 2011 and sales volume increased by 2%.
This means not only that the retail sector performed better in terms of profits, but also that the demand for products was up, and that is the significant indicator for the economy as a whole. As sure as spring follows winter, manufacturing output follows increased demand.
The key now is for some detailed analysis to be undertaken of what it it that Brits are buying. What is it that we are selling more of than we were 12 months ago, because if we can feed that back into the manufacturing chain right now we can begin to turn our attention to making what people want here in Britain. If we get that right then as sure as summer follows spring we can get get more British products sold here and thereby step-increase our manufacturing base.
Of course all this pre-supposes that we are preparing our workless and our young for a career in manufacturing rather than in academia. Fortunately the coalitions Government’s youth contract and its apprenticeships scheme are geared to doing exactly that.
So, there is no Plan B, but Plan A+ is now starting to look a lot more realistic.