Why are profit-making factories closing across England?

There are more than 660,000 fewer people working in manufacturing in England than there were in 2005. But these plants are profitable – and their closure should be avoidable.

The closure of the Britvic factory in Norwich is a huge blow for the 249 Britvic and 113 Unilever workers who share the site. Sadly, this comes as no surprise – across England there are over 660,000 fewer people working in manufacturing than in 2005, with some regions like the West Midlands being hit harder than others. Talking to workers in factories in areas such as East Anglia reveals not only the lack of public and private investment driving these closures, but the impact on those losing skilled and well-paid jobs across the country.

Like many towns, Norwich has a history of manufacturing that is now largely constrained to food and drink. Unlike the food plants run by the likes of scandal-hit 2 Sisters, drinks factories like Britvic are home to some of the more productive, higher paid manufacturing jobs in the area. So why is a site which the company admits is profitable being closed?

I write more about the damaging trend of a corporate model which aims to maximise short-term profits over investing in a stable future, on OpenDemocracyUK.

Image: John Fielding (licensed under CC By 2.0)

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