Business leaders in Birmingham have called on the next Government to devise a comprehensive strategy for manufacturing following the loss of one million jobs in the sector over the past eight years.
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it was time to address seriously the decline, which has hit the West Midlands hardest with the closure of MG Rover in Birmingham and Jaguar at Browns Lane in Coventry and the knock- on effect for suppliers.
Speaking ahead ofheado f tomorrow's election, BCI policy director Jerry Blackett said: "There is also the threat to jobs at Marconi and Peugeot in Coventry which will have an impact on the whole of the West Midlands.
"It is time for the next government to recognise that manufacturing can still flourish and is still so important for the West Midlands. The research and development capabilities of the West Midlands are the envy of the world."
On broader issues, Mr Blackett said the next government must be mindful that UK business wants a long-term, stable economy.
He added: "To achieve this, we must have low inflation, predictable and low interest rates and a steady GDP growth. Business appreciates that for the last decade we have enjoyed a benign economy.
"We have benefited from a flexible workforce and low unemployment with GDP growth having outstripped many of our European competitors. But we worry about increasing global competition, raw material prices and a Europe that is under performing economically."
Mr Blackett added that in order to function efficiently, every business needed a better transport system especially in the West Midlands.
"Again, it is depressing how unwilling all parties appear to be to set out a serious 30-year transport vision. We all know that a massive increase in our road spending combined with radical policies like road pricing are essential - yet no politician wants to demonstrates any leadership here."