A question or simple maths?

chalkboardAs Britain continues to receive more bad news about the fragility of its economy we are beginning to wonder if the solution is really all that complex. We are quick to point out that we are not politicians or professional economists but there is a simple calculation that seems to make sense to us… it goes something like this:

If we, as consumers, invested more in British goods it would create a domestic market for our manufacturers. These manufactures could then use this increased revenue to grow, employ more skilled workers, invest in developing new products and expand their ability to export. This would increase the British work force and strengthen of our domestic businesses, thus leading to less strain on the national budget and more income/corporation taxes being collected. The sum total of this would equal a much strengthened economy.

This seems to make sense to us and starts by us all simply looking at the labels when next shopping.

If this is too simplistic a calculation we would genuinely be interested in hearing why?


  1. Totally agree -it all started with letting our manufacturing go abroad from all sorts of industries in the 80’s-if we had all insisted on buying British instead of focusing on saving a few pence then we wouldn’t be in this pickle

    • James L says

      The problem is that we all allowed this to happen. If Dyson were a French company it would have gone bust when prodiction was moved over seas. I actively boycott companies who manufacture inoy the far east just to increase profits. Royal Doulton still trade on their ‘Royal’ acreditation and yet produce china in China and crystal in eastern Europe. They still sell their products at a premium price just like Dyson. The British consumer must wake up to this and say ‘ if you do not make your product here we will not buy it!

      • Doulton part of Wedgwood to their credit are realising that British is best and are bringing production of their better quality products back to Britain. If we could make them realise that all their products should be Made in Britain then I am sure we would all be better off, and Proud of the fact! A little known fact came up on local TV last night. If a china product is finished here it can be labeled Made in England even though the original cup etc was made in the Far East.

        • I was tempted to move my telephone land lines to BT from my existing company as BT were offering a better price and my contract was up for renewal. I duly made the order and received my email confirmation. First problem, the email stated I needed to activate my account by clicking on the link in the email and entering my account number. At this point in time I didn’t have an account number as I was waiting for my account to be setup. No problem I thought, I will ring the BT customer services. A very polite and friendly Indian gentleman answered. I had no idea BT outsourced this part of their business, I spent almost 25 minutes trying to explain the problem and in then end I just gave up said “Thank you” and put down the phone. Second Problem. I was advised by my previous company that as I was given a cut off date by BT prior to the end of my existing contract I was liable to a £100 fee. No problem I thought, I will phone BT customer services. 30 minutes later………..”Thank you” put the phone down, nothing resolved. I have now cancelled my BT order and staying with the same company who when I call are from the UK. I was with BT for 3 days, and that was enough for me, what a complete and utter waste of time.

  2. Stephen Weller says

    That certainly makes sense to me! And there are so many benefits to not being SO reliant on imported and foreign produced good / energy / food…

  3. Marek Ujma says

    This is a great idea. What we need is a few high-profile people like Mary Portas, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Sir Richard Branson, Peter Jones and a couple of big name politicians to promote and keep on promoting this. Get the banks involved in physically supporting by lending money. Also have a high-level publicity campaign using social media as well traditional media and posting stories more or less continuously.

    • The Banks are not lending at the moment and haven’t been for ages. The Government have been telling the Banks for the last 3 years that they must start doing so. We need more Banks like “Bank Of Dave” (see chanel 4), this is the only way forward unless we want more Godon Gekko types “Greed is good!!”.

  4. Jenny jemison says

    Surely that is common sense, but then I have an obituary to Common Sense.

    “Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
    – Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    – Why the early bird gets the worm;
    – Life isn’t always fair;
    – and maybe it was my fault.

    Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
    His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

    Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

    It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion..

    Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

    Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

    Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

    Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

    He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
    I Know My Rights
    I Want It Now
    Someone Else Is To Blame
    I’m A Victim
    Not many attended his funeral because not many realised he had gone!”
    Can we not find his long lost child Common Sense Junior do you think?

  5. Well said. Uk production is our basis for our business to the point we make everything ourselves. It’s incredibly difficult to compete due to the many cheap imports mass produced outside of the country. The British public needs to support proper uk producers not fake uk producers who pretend to make in the UK.

  6. Absolutely right.

    I have to confess that I do not buy British goods exclusively (but respect you for doing so) but I try whenever possible. I’ll scour the shelves in the supermarket but I won’t buy a Morgan car because it’s impractical for me.

    So we as citizens should support British industry, but equally the government should be doing something. I don’t want to start banging the old anti-EU tub again, but I really think that our government should be standing up for British goods. We’ve already discussed an “I’m Backing Britain” campagn, but how about some subsidies and tax breaks even if they do contravene EU “level playing field” regulations?

    The French don’t seem to care.

  7. David Courtney says

    It is amazing that the solution is not only so simple, but easily within our grasp. But there again it seems the obvious can escape even the most eagle-eyed politician and economist. Buying British is not only good for the country as a whole, but ultimately good for every tax payer living here as well. BUY BRITISH!

  8. paul S says

    The Uk government has pumped billions into Banks to get them lending again, and what have the banks done with it? saved it so they are now have better reserves, If the government wants to get the economy going, we need the money-go-round to start again. Buying British will help kick start the money-go-round.

  9. Andrew Zielinski says

    The Department for Business Innovation and skills says “department for economic growth” and “help people to start and grow a business” see their web site. I have not tested this out. It would be an interesting case study for this forum to see a development of a British start up and see how it can answer the calculation/question raised?

    While the Government may be trying to address economic growth, how well this is understood/known/trusted by the public may be another factor to consider.

  10. I rarely do the ‘food shop’ and even if I find myself in the store pay little or no attention to what my wife actually puts in the trolley ~ having followed this site it did notice that when we chose sprouts we could have either sprouts from Egypt or from Mexico! I did like the way the cabbage and lettuce had included on the label no only the County from which it came but the Farmers name. Lush products, I noticed, are handmade and include the name of the person who made it! Our body massage soap was made by Caroline!
    Anyhow; I was explaining to my friend in the States about the German forces buying German good and vehicles (as do the French buy French etc) but how we don’t favour our homegrown product (Bizzarely). He pointed out that in the States they naturally favour, promote and encourage local or regional product. Indeed; if you ask for a beer in a bar you are asked, “Domestic or Import”? Radio stations and other media always promote local and regional product. To all of us ~ this seems simply right. Or are we the odd ones?

    • Darren woodiwiss says

      British defense contractors were excluded from the European defense force on the basis that they were mostly Anglo-American concerns and the EU rules specified European suppliers only!!!!!!!

      smacks a little of constructive exclusion for the benefit of the only two other countries that are major arms manufacturers

  11. Clare Ellis says

    In my opinion it’s stems from greed. Manufacturers want cheap manufacturing, a classic example is Dyson. Supermarkets want mega profits and screw the uk manufacturers who probably turn to cheaper manufacturing in china etc to enable them to satisfy their shareholders. The consumer is left with limited choices. I have limited knowledge but from where I am standing the Tesco’s, James Dyson and Philip Green’s of this country have a lot to answer for. It’s about time that manufacturing was brought back to the UK or at least Europe and I would say a good place to start is Eastern europe where jobs are in need. Well you did ask…. 🙂

  12. Farming leaders are urging supermarkets to stop scouring the world for the cheapest food.

  13. I agree with all the above.Politics, banks, economics etc.. but what about the subject of simple human habits and/ or comfort zones? Is it this which stops us trying British over our favourite imported product? Our buying habits, yes, are very difficult to break.- but it can be done- gradually.Buying habits can be changed , bit by bit.Each of us can slowly brake them.You can change one buying habit every week.eg this week im going to buy British apples, next week British jam….a life time of bad buying HABITS(neglecting British goods)can be turned around, slowly but surely if we do it gradually.Just think by the end of this year you would have tried out many more British goods.We can look back and all feel proud we have changed a few, if not many buying habits and continue to buy British, actually prefer it, then rave about it !

  14. I think leadership from the top needs to occur. What sane government would pull the plug on the advanced passenger train, sell it to Italy, and then buy tilting trains from Italy to run on our lines. Buy army socks from China instead of Leicestershire to “save money”, Sell Nationalised industries to foreign companies, who when the going gets tough close them to keep themselves going. (when Layland DAF got into trouble it was the Layland bit that was closed down).
    Warwickshire Police bought bicycles from an American company (that were actually made in Taiwan) instead of Pashley who had designed and produced a cycle to the forces own specification!
    On the corporate front Rolls Royce Bentley cars were sold to Germany, can you imagine Germany selling us VW and Mercedes?
    My family were unable to find Cheddar cheese when on holiday in France, but the French would of course feel at home here in any of our “superstores” or deli’s..
    It seems our elected and corporate leaders have not twigged that the way to increase wealth for the country and the people is to make things here, and buy them.
    Seems simple to me.

    • David Courtney says

      I completely agree. The way to turbo-charge our economic recovery is not simply for consumers to buy British, but for British companies to support one another. It is a matter of both buying and selling British! Wake up Captains of industry!

  15. I’d be cautious about making assumptions about how economies work like those above. I would certainly be cautious about describing it as ‘simple maths’! Do I want to help British people get jobs? Yes of course. Do I want a job? Certainly! Do I want to help French people get jobs? Um, yes I suppose. Are British jobs more important to me than French jobs? Well… only because I happen to be in Britain. There but for the grace of God go I after all.

    There’s nothing xenophobic about wanting to buy British goods, but is it not just that tiny step away?

  16. Paula - I love vintage45 says

    Hello to A Truly British Family, this is my first post after reading about your families quest back in January, so thought well done to the Bradshaws in getting people moving and involved. Just this past week I started following your pro-British campaign seriously….

    I came back on here due to the fact I do not want to buy Made In China goods anymore (or anything made in those Far East countries) soley because of the barbaric & inhumane way they treat animals. Last Friday I had a video posted to my FB page of graphic scenes which I will not go into on this thread, but I’m sure you will already know about their ghastly trade in using animals we consider as pets in this country. It has upset me considerably and made me so angry for the past week that I was adament to start a crusade of buying only British made goods for myself and the rest of my family. So your site has spurred me on this month…. I do not want to give those countries my money anymore!!…
    I have text, emailed my close friends and family not to buy me any gifts, toiletries, food etc etc in future that’s Made in China…and I will reciprocate.

    On that note I am returning recent items purchased in Tesco, Aldi etc that I have not opened, this includes some gardening equipment, birthday gifts for others that I’m not giving to friends now. And will be telling them the reasons why!!

    Also another disappointment with gifts received at Christmas, from my partner, was some sewing items in the Vintage by Hemingway range (exclusive to John Lewis I think?!) I love these items but last week on looking at the sewing tins and pin cushions etc they are all Made in (the dreaded) China.
    I would have thought the clothes & shoe designer Wayne Hemingway, of all people, would avocate British made goods 🙁 as he’s so into his ‘vintage way of life’….

    Really enjoying reading all your blogs on British sourced goods and the publics response…I have so much to read to get up to speed with it all 🙂

  17. Paula - I love vintage45 says

    NB I forgot to add I also want to put jobs back into the hands of the British people and a manufacturing pride we enjoyed post WWII. Our young workers so desperately need jobs they can believe are worth doing…have apprenticeships in companies once again…work their way up in a business….

    When I have checked labels in the past 5 years, for example in Marks & Spencers, I’ve spotted many a time Made in China (or as they label in some stores Made in PRC), Thailand, Taiwan etc. I immediately put these goods back on the shelf, especially if it’s toiletry products!! I just do not trust anything, made over there, to be used on my skin.

    So I have unwittingly been pro-Britian,….I also do not trust their ‘Cruelty Free’ products or ‘BUAV Approved’ items that is so easily printed on the packaging….so NO THANKs M&S, Boots or Superdrug etc no dodgey body creams, face washes etc for me, my partner and family no more!!!

    I have recently scanned the backs of my mid-price range of make-up, even some No. 7 items are Made in Thailand. Think I going to return to a company based in England called Beauty Naturals, their ‘own label’ products are made in Britain, a family run business. But can’t be sure of all their other brands they sell, they source ‘cruelty free’ products for vegetarians and vegans, if anyone is interested!!

    Looking forward to reading your British made ‘beauty and toiletry’ section.

  18. I am passionate about buying British and have tried to do so for a long time so I can see the problems the majority of the British public face – I HAVE TO SAY IT – that British goods can be inferior to foreign made, and more expensive than a foreign made alternative!
    I saw it first with the British car industry – the Japanese and Germans offered better quality and more reliable alternatives, with a failure of the British Government to support them in the same way European or American Governments have done.
    Incidentally, the Americans and French in particular have rubbish cars (imho), but they are successful because they are generally bought by their own populations in preference to foreign makes.
    For a long time, the British consumer has been dominated by the urge to buy cheaper – manufacturers and retailers have had to find ways of making their goods cheaper, and this means using trade union free foreign workforces and foreign raw materials.
    The other day I bought a British made Dualit toaster, but it cost over £100!!! Look in Argos or on the high street, and you can get a foreign made toaster that does the same job for £15.Yes I know the Dualit will last longer (I hope), but will 6 or 7 x £15 toasters last longer?
    Hunter wellies? Barbour or Belstaff jackets? Jaguar/Land Rover? Who can afford these?
    Supermarket British apples – they are small, tasteless and sold in sweaty plastic bags! This winds me up more than anything when I know we grow some superb apples. Shop elsewhere I hear you cry – visit farmers markets! Yes – like the majority of the British public I dont have time to seek out these things – the major retailers need to come on board with this and maybe sacrifice some of their huge profits for the sake of British produce.
    Buying British is a rich, decadent, and dare I say it, middle class pursuit, and until the mass, financially squeezed public put Britain before their own pockets, nothing much will change.
    I do hope that the Bradshaws can start a ball rolling, and I offer them my full support!

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