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More money for research by small businesses is great news—but it’s still just a first step towards rebalancing the economy, says Marcus Gibson.

Since the 1990s, some 95 per cent of the UK’s light-manufacturing companies have disappeared, hit by the double blow of uncontrolled imports from China and a property bubble so big that few firms could make anything worth more than their premises. The upshot is that the UK now has 14,000 university professors and fewer than 300 high-integrity welders.

The coalition government has made the revival of manufacturing and engineering a major policy goal. Yet, apart from some remarkable revivals in the automotive and oil and gas industries, much of UK manufacturing is either static or still in decline.

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