Buy British or choose wisely?

Caroline McClatchey of the BBC wants to know why we are not having a buy British campaign in order to help our struggling economy.

The British economy is in the doldrums, with the manufacturing sector flagging, so why aren't there more campaigns encouraging people to be patriotic and buy products made in the UK?

When buying a jumper, a piece of furniture or a bag of apples, do you check to see where it has come from?

Do people care whether it was designed, manufactured or grown by British firms or farms?

These are troubling times for Britain's manufacturing sector, once a relative bright spot in the country's lacklustre recovery, which contracted at its fastest pace in more than two years in October, as new orders plummeted.

But there is unlikely to be a clamour for consumers to start buying British

There are many things a consumer will consider when buying a product, cost and quality probably being the most important. It's no good to just pick an item because it is British made as this takes away choice and does a disservice the the buyer.

I may choose to purchase a German car* over an English one for reasons of quality. The German car may be in a similar price bracket to the English one but the build quality may be far superior, prolonging the life and resale value, and reducing maintenance costs in the future.

If the British auto industry wants my trade then they need to improve the quality of their products to match the other contenders before I will consider buying from them.

There are also many reasons why British and European prices for goods can be quite uncompetitive when compared to those of Asia and the far east.

There is so much red tape restricting western business practices. Employment laws, minimum wages, maternity leave etc, all serve to increase the cost of goods.

British schools are churning out unskilled and lazy workers with a sense of entitlement. Compare this to Japanese workers and ask why they lead the field in electronics.

I would rather choose a cheaper product of comparable quality whose price is based on current market values rather than a higher priced item whose cost is based on the lifestyle expectations of the workers who created it.

If China can make an item I want cheaper, because they are not restricted by so many labour laws, I will choose to buy their product.

To choose British products simply because they are British will only serve to compound the problems that already exist. If quality is low, no one will strive to improve it as products are being bought anyway. If prices are higher, workers will continue to push for ever increasing wages and benefits, and governments will continue to impose ever more restrictive red tape on businesses and employers.

In times of economic downturn, it's these problems that need to be addressed in order to give businesses the edge. Creating a false economy by purchasing products based on where they are manufactured is not looking at the bigger picture.

The emerging workforce needs to be educated to a much higher standard, and above all, they have to learn to work hard for what they want rather than demand entitlements. Red tape, particularly that which comes out of Europe needs to be reduced to the bare minimum. Labour laws need to be dialled back.

Buy British? No. I'll be basing my spending choices on a lot more than country of origin.

*That's only an example. It's old Fords all the way for me.

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