The UK has haemorrhaged more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs in the past decade, a new study by GMB has shown.
The figures, which are being discussed at GMB’s annual Congress in Plymouth today, show that 619,000 jobs in the sector disappeared from 2006 to 2016, a massive fall of 17 per cent.
Between them the lost jobs have meant that £11.3 billion less has been paid in manufacturing wages in real-terms.
In 2006 the UK supported 3.5 million permanent and temporary manufacturing jobs –more than 12 per cent of the all British employment.
By 2016, that had slumped to just 2.9 million, or 9.3 per cent of the total.
Every region in the UK has experienced a decline in manufacturing employment.
Two badly affected regions – Scotland and the North East – have lost 22 per cent of manufacturing jobs.
The worst affected region – the West Midlands has lost almost 100,000 manufacturing jobs.
Jude Brimble, GMB National Secretary for Manufacturing, said: “The UK is haemorrhaging manufacturing jobs – and that is a massive problem for both our workers and our economy.
“We should cherish our manufacturing sector, but instead successive governments have driven it into the ground through a lack of investment and tendering processes that hamper our homegrown businesses.
“Manufacturing wages are 20% higher than the national average, and the sector is a keystone of the wider economy. These are jobs worth fighting for.
“Whoever wins the next election must develop a procurement strategy supporting UK industry, build strong British supply chains and a balanced energy policy to keep our country’s lights on.
“If this sad decline is not addressed then post-Brexit Britain and the next generation will surely pay the price.”