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Issue:- 2 February  2012


CHESHIRE East with a loss of 17,700 manufacturing jobs tops the North West league for manufacturing jobs lost during the recession.  The number of workers employed in manufacturing the North West has fallen by 97,000 from 444,000 employed in 2006/7 to 347,000 employed in 2010/11 a new GMB study shows. The North West was 3rd in the regional league for manufacturing jobs lost due to the recession and stalled recovery.

The number of workers employed in manufacturing in Cheshire East has fallen by 17,700 from 36,500 employed in 2006/7 to 18,800 employed in 2010/11. This puts Cheshire East top of the league for the area with the highest number of manufacturing job losses during the recession and the stalled recovery.

Next in the North West league for the fall in Manufacturing workers are: Cumbria, 11,000; Lancashire, 9,700; Manchester, 9,400; Tameside, 7,100; Oldham, 5,900; Wirral, 5,900; Bolton, 5,800; Warrington, 4,400 and Rochdale, 3,900. Set out in the table below are the details for the 23 areas in the North West for the fall in manufacturing employment.

In the UK as a whole the recession has cost 706,300 manufacturing jobs. That is an average of 3,398 per week. That is an average of 3,398 per week. In 2006/7 there were 3,546,100 employed in manufacturing industry in the UK. The latest figure shows employment of 2,839,800 in 2010/11. This fall is on top of the 1.25m fall between 1994/5 and 2006/7.

All these figures come from a new GMB study of official data released by the ONS.

Paul McCarthy, GMB Regional Secretary, said:- "The Downing Street led recession accelerated the haemorrhaging of jobs from UK manufacturing. In the UK as a whole the first four years of this recession has cost 706,300 manufacturing jobs. That is an average of 3,398 job losses a week. This fall is on top of the 1.25m fall between 1994/5 and 2006/7 an average of 2005 job losses a week.  Governments since Thatcher, from both parties, have ignored warnings from GMB and others that this migration of manufacturing jobs is not sustainable.   This 'march of the makers', 2 million of them in 16 years- is the most tragic economic story from Britain in the last 2 decades.Unless action is taken to support and develop manufacturing the economic future for this nation is bleak. Only the British state has enough strength and power to halt and reverse the decline. This strength and power must be mobilised without delay to support a GMB programme as follows:-

►  The creation of a strategic investment bank that could raise large sums of money in the commercial markets backed by a smaller capital base provided by the government.

►  Increased support for medium-sized companies in the UK, and new ways to encourage small firms to grow so they can employ more people and supply big industry.

►  A smarter approach to procurement - other countries make a much better use of public money to boost their own industries - where every pound of public money in the UK is spent encouraging the development of a modern, highly skilled economy."

Urgent action on skills to deal with the skills shortages plague the UK. Germany has many more apprentices and a long-established dual vocational system which puts the country in a much better place than the UK.

The creation of a fairer economic model; a UK version of the social market, with a stronger role for unions and employer organisations, to include the introduction of employee representatives on works councils or supervisory boards, as exists in Germany.

There should be a concentration of effort on high skill, high value manufacturing sectors; for example in the field of environmental technology; on those British companies most likely to succeed in the face of global competition.

UK manufacturing should be used as the supply chain in the multibillion pound capital investment programme needed to up-grade and modernise the UKís infrastructure.

Agriculture and land management should feature in flood defence policy, says CLA

THE Government policy on flood defence does not recognise the importance of agriculture, food production and land management, the CLA has warned. The Association said a report on flood risk management published on 31 January 2012, by the Public Accounts Committee is short-sighted not to consider the economic contribution of food production and land management when setting spending priorities. CLA North Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said:- "We agree with the Committee that there is not enough money available for defending homes and businesses against flooding. However, farmers are already suffering due to a lack of awareness of the economic contribution that agriculture and land management makes to the local economy and this is having a serious impact on rural communities. We understand flood defence funding has to be more targeted but the Government must begin to recognise the importance of food producing businesses, especially in light of increased population growth and climate change. Food production and land-based businesses make a significant economic contribution and should be adequately protected against flooding."

Mersey Tunnel refurbishment fit for a queen...

L-R- Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Moira McLaughlin with Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Frank Prendergast at the Wirral and Liverpool crests

FOLLOWING an 18 month, £7 million programme of improvements to the Queensway Tunnel, Merseytravel has unveiled a unique first; an impressive piece of public art, set within the famous tunnel.  Queensway is the first road tunnel in Europe to incorporate public art in tunnel cladding and can now boast another record for the people of Merseyside; spectacular new interpretations of the Liverpool and Wirral skylines by local artist Alison Barker.

The 78 year old road tunnel has been given a 21st century makeover with new ceramic steel cladding throughout, enhancing the driving experience for customers and improving light reflectance. The new cladding replaces the previous plastic coated corrugated wall cladding installed by Merseyside County Council in 1983, with a total of 5999 panels, including18 panels at either end displaying the artwork.

The light reflective panels provide enhanced lighting luminar of 14% which has extended the timeline for the tunnel lamp replacement from 7 years to 8 years, reducing both financial and environmental cost.

Crests for both Wirral and Liverpool at the historic boundary have been updated to create a sharper, more contemporary, design and positioned either side of a separate panel representing the boundary line.

Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel, which owns and operates both the Queensway and Kingsway tunnels, said:- "When the Queensway Tunnel first opened in 1934 it was the longest tunnel of its type in the world and a true construction wonder. This flagship scheme has given us the chance to be first again, this time with the inclusion of artwork at each end of the tunnel."

Jim Barclay, Merseytravel interim Chief Executive and Director General added:- "The tunnels are a vital part of our transport network and this investment represents not only improved safety for the hundreds of thousands of customers who pass through the tunnel each week, by enhanced visibility, but also reduces the environmental impact of the tunnel operation."

Wirral Composition

 Alison Barker with the Wirral composition

Depicts the major buildings, condensing the notable buildings from a long stretch of Wirral, but including Lady Lever Art Gallery, which isnít visible from Liverpool. The colour green, rather than representing one of the notes of the scale, is used to show the green landscape of Wirral seen from Liverpool. Below the buildings is a musical stave, overlaid with a flowing, repeating design of the leaf of the bog myrtle, the plant that in Anglo-Saxon times was widespread across the peninsula and gave Wirral its name.

Liverpool Composition

Depicts the major buildings of the Liverpool cityscape, based on Alison Barkerís photographs from Seacombe. The height of each building corresponds to a note on the musical stave, which in turn gives each building its colour from the artists own colour scale. The keyboard below alludes to the significance of music in both the design and in Liverpool life.

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