Britains manufacturing base is one of the worst performing of the world’s developed countries, a shock report reveals.
Steel and chemical industries have seen at least 100,000 jobs disappear and output has stagnated during the economic recovery.
Only Norway has a smaller industrial base than Britain in the European Union and hopes of creating a Northern Powerhouse are being undermined by poor performance.
The grim findings will make uncomfortable reading for Chancellor George Osborne less than a week after his Budget.
And they triggered renewed calls for government action to stop the dumping of steel and other metals on British and European markets by China and Russia.
A report by the respected think-tank, the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) exposes the steep decline of UK manufacturing.
Since 2000 British manufacturing has shrunk twice as fast as other countries in the 34-nation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The UK manufacturing sector – which has shrunk by two thirds since 1970, is among the worst performing in Europe.
The stagnation of ‘foundation industries’ like basic metals, chemicals, wood and pharmaceuticals also threatens the success of the Northern Powerhouse, with many of those sectors are concentrated in the North, Midlands and Wales.
Some 90% of domestic demand for chemicals and metals come from imports – some of them subsidised by the British taxpayer, up from 40% in the 1990s.
Read report: Britains manufacturing sector ‘worst performing in developed world’ says shock report