Boosting manufacturing is a ‘sterile’ idea, says David Cameron’s adviser Lord Young

Lord Young of Graffham poured scorn on the Business secretary’s much vaunted strategy, saying boosting manufacturing was a “sterile” argument, reports The Telegraph.

Mr Cable said as recently as June that “the key to a sustainable and balanced economy” was to invest in manufacturing.

However the peer, who started work in Downing Street last November, said: “One of the sterile arguments we continue to hear is the need for manufacturing. I agree there is a need for manufacturing and wealth creation, but manufacturing in the future will do little to employ people.”

Lord Young said that in the future more people were likely to be self-employed or have a number of jobs during their life time, rather than work for a big manufacturer.

He told an audience at a meeting on the fringes of the Conservative party conference in Birmingham: “In the world to come, we will need a multiplicity of occupations depending on the ingenuity of people. It is an area where Government can do little more than stand back.”

Lord Young was concerned that not enough banks were lending to small firms, and that part of the problem was that banks had sacked too many local managers.

He said: “The banks are aware of the problem and one or two of the new banks are taking steps to serve small firms better – but it is a real gap in our world.

“My priority for the next few years is going to be the steps that should be taken to ensure that these new firms that are starting today find a way of getting finance in the very early stage of their business before they have time to establish a track record.”