Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
The financial crash has blown a hole not just in our national balance sheet, but also in our economic sense of ourselves. BBC Two is to reconcile viewers with the true landscape of the British economy in Made In Britain, an authored series in which Evan Davis asks what our country is good at and how it can pay its way in the world. Evan busts some of the myths that have sprung up in recent decades and reacquaints us with some forgotten areas of the economy.
For years now, both optimists and pessimists in Britain have shared a powerful myth – that we are no longer an industrial nation. Optimists thought we no longer needed manufacturing as we could survive on business and other services; pessimists thought we should cling to as much old industry as we could.
But Evan will argue that both were wrong. The country can't live without manufacturing, but equally it can't afford to compete with China in low-cost production. Fortunately the country has not attempted to do either of these things. Britain today is still a manufacturing powerhouse, the sixth biggest in the world.
Evan Davis says: "We're not as bad as we often think at producing things, but we have a lot of work to do to fill the gaps left by the recession and the decline in financial services. I'm looking forward to running around the country to see what's flourishing and where the holes are."
Evan will look at what the country does, and what it needs to do. He will find modern manufacturing accounting for up to 15% of our economy – almost twice the size of our financial services industry.
Productivity has doubled in the last ten years. Four million people work in manufacturing. Half of our exports are manufactured goods – and we're not just talking whisky and tweed here, but computer chips and software, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, JCBs and jet engines.
Evan will explain that as we become more productive at manufacturing, it inevitably employs fewer people. And he will show where value is created in the modern economy: sometimes in factories; sometimes through the sale of services; and sometimes in ways that combine the two.
Martin Davidson, Commissioning Editor, History and Business, says: "With all eyes on the British economy and the need for a radical plan to safeguard its future, I'm very excited that Evan Davis will be offering his expert analysis to BBC Two viewers – and I look forward to seeing what surprises he has in store for us."
Made In Britain will be broadcast on BBC Two in 2011, marking 100 years since the Empire Exhibition of 1911, 160 years since the Great Exhibition of 1851 and 60 years since the Festival of Britain in 1951, all of which celebrated our achievements as the workshop of the world.
Made In Britain will be produced by the Money Programme team, who also made The Love Of Money, Total Recall – The Toyota Story, The Box That Changed Britain and The Virtual Revolution.
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