London-based civil servants should be forced to work shifts at a Midland manufacturing firm to learn about the real world, according to an outspoken MP.
Black Country MP John Spellar (Lab Warley) said officials in the Treasury and other Government departments should be summoned to Birmingham and the Black Country to learn about industry at first hand.
And he condemned civil servants for buying cars and other products made overseas on behalf of public services - instead of backing British workers.
The MP was speaking in the House of Commons in the run-up to the Budget on March 21, when George Osborne, the Chancellor, will set out new proposals for taxation and spending.
Mr Spellar highlighted the policy of Chinese dictator Chairman Mao, who sent educated officials from China’s big cities to work in the countryside.
He said: “I have always thought that there was precious little to commend Chairman Mao’s misrule in China, but his policy of sending recalcitrant officials back to the countryside for re-education seems to have something to commend it.
“Would not undertaking a shift in respect of Britain’s manufacturing be salutary for many of our civil servants, who are letting Britain down?”
And he told one Government Minister: “I do not know what he does on a Saturday night but if he watches any of the police series from various European countries, he will notice that if they are from any country that produces cars they always drive their own vehicles.
“This is about the mindset of our civil service. The French, German, Spanish and Italian civil services back their industry. What is wrong with the culture of our civil service that it is always trying to do British industry down?”
Labour leader Ed Miliband also urged the Government to back manufacturing in a speech to the Engineering Employers Federation.
He said: “There should be a standard Made in Britain mark that is backed, not just by industry, but by government . . . we can’t recognise or celebrate our strength in manufacturing unless we know what is designed, invented and made here.”