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Some suggestions for Alan Duncan:

1) Reduce or preferably eliminate corporation tax. Why? Because corporation tax redistributes financial resources from the productive, wealth producing sector of the economy to the inefficient public sector.

2) If the Tories won't or can't reduce or eliminate corporation tax, then they should give 100% first year writing down allowances on all capital investment. Why? Because this would make investment in manufacturing capacity more attractive.

3) Reduce or eliminate Employers' National Insurance. Why? Because taxes on employment make it more difficult to British companies to compete with businesses in countries which are not burdened with excessive taxation.

This sounds excellent. Not before time Alan.

And the EU's emission trading scheme, which is provoking threats from major manufacturers to pull out of the UK? The climate change levy? The increasing cost of energy, not least due to the distortions of the EU's renewables target? And then there is the projected energy shortfall, with plans for load shedding directed at industry (which already happened last May), making the UK a poor bet for long-term investment.

What are Mr Duncan's proposals to deal with these issues?

What has that got to do with this subject Richard?

Richard North`s comments are very relevant. To which I would add, instead of or in addition to university degrees, apprenticeships. Why not?

Not before time! We need more of this!

Malcolm Dunn, you ask "What has that (my comment) got to do with this subject Richard?"

The post itself reads, "The Conservatives are planning a manufacturing summit later this year, aimed at policy solutions for helping British industry."

Unless you are from the school that believes that rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic is the answer to all or any political issue, it would seem that addressing the energy issue is a central part of any "policy solutions for helping British industry" - more so as Mr Duncan is also "energy secretary".

Even in terms of the very limited scope of this initiative, a significant problem in the nuclear industry is the lack of trained engineers, but students are not going to come forward in the numbers needed until there is some policy stability on nuclear energy policy ... chicken and egg.

We should apply the same policy to post 16/18 education and training as we do to schools. Vouchers.

The problem is that anyone with the brains to become a professional engineer has easier and more lucrative choices. Yes it can be fun and rewarding in all senses but overall the expected costs and benefits don't compare with other opportunities. A recent survey in the USA put the most highly paid professions as Chemical and Aeronautical engineering, ahead of law and medicine. If the demand was there in the UK the rewards would be too. If business really wanted technically qualified people it would pay; it doesn't so it is clear there is no real demand.

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