KIRKLEES has seen more than 4,800 manufacturing jobs vanish since the recession began, new figures have revealed.
Data compiled by general union the GMB shows there were 34,300 manufacturing jobs in the district in 2006-7 – before the credit crunch hit. Now the total is 29,500.
Nationally, the GMB claimed that 706,300 manufacturing jobs had been lost during that time – averaging out at 3,398 jobs disappearing every week.
The GMB analysis, based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, showed there were 3,546,100 people employed in manufacturing in the UK in 2006-7. The latest figures is 2,839,800.
Across Yorkshire, the number of manufacturing jobs fell by 57,000 from 349,500 to 292,500.
Leeds was the worst-hit district in West Yorkshire – and the sixth worst-affected UK-wide – with a 16,100 decline in jobs from 49,300 to 33,200.
Calderdale saw a fall of 5,400 from 17,800 to 12,400 with Wakefield logging a 2,900 decline from 18,700 to 15,800 and Bradford down by 2,100 from 30,800 to 28,700.
Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Kent, Hampshire and Cheshire East saw the biggest falls in manufacturing jobs.
Among UK regions, West Midlands had the highest casualty figure with the number of manufacturing jobs falling by 119,000 from 426,000 to 307,000.
Yorkshire was fifth on the regional list behind the South East, the North West and London.
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said Government of both parties had ignored warnings from the union and others that the “migration” of manufacturing jobs overseas was not sustainable. He said: “This ‘march of the makers’ – two million of them in 16 years – is the most tragic economic story from Britain in two decades.
“Unless action is taken to support and develop manufacturing, the economic future for this nation is bleak.
“Only the British state has enough strength and power to halt and reverse the decline. This strength and power must be mobilised without delay.”
Mr Kenny called for the creation of a strategic investment bank to back UK businesses; increased support for medium-sized companies; and new ways to encourage small firms to grow so they can employ more people and supply big industry.