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Miliband: Patriotic economics vital

Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for a new patriotic economic policy that would give British firms a better chance of competing with their foreign rivals.

He said successive administrations had failed to grasp how important "pride and patriotism" were to ensuring the country's manufacturing sector can thrive and create jobs for the economy.

In a speech to the EEF National Manufacturing Conference in London, Mr Miliband argued that a strong manufacturing base was central to the "responsible capitalism" the Government must encourage in the wake of the financial crisis.

He accused the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition of letting British business down by sticking to the view that Government should "get out of the way".

There has been anger recently that thousands of jobs at Canadian-owned Bombardier in Derby were put on the line after an important contract to build Thameslink trains was awarded to German rival Siemens.

Mr Miliband said there could never be a return to the protectionism of "propping up lame ducks or putting up trade barriers" but an active industrial policy was essential.

"From our government to our culture, we need pride and patriotism if our British firms are to succeed," he said.

"Patriotism is about an active government using all the means at its disposal to give competitive British firms every chance to succeed. Patriotism means recognising they can and do compete with the best in the world - and the belief that they deserve our backing.

"Patriotism means supporting fair competition, so that British firms make it onto the pitch to compete in the first place, something governments in other countries take for granted. The patriotism we need is about pride in firms headquartered here in Britain, but also in internationally-owned firms that choose to locate and invest here."

Backing an initiative by Merseyside-based kitchen appliance firm Stoves for a new Made in Britain mark, Mr Miliband said they were "three words we don't hear enough, or see enough". He said the campaign should have cross-party and Government support.

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