Category Archives: Uncategorized

I’ve run out of space!


WordPress limit the amount of space on this website and unfortunately mine is all used up! I hope to tidy the site up at some point and / or make another but in the meantime there will be no new articles. I will hopefully be able to continue updating the present ones. Stay safe.

Buy British Christmas Gifts – The Make it British Gift Guide

There are lots of ideas here on the ukmade site for great Christmas presents. Please have a look around. Lots of ideas elsewhere on the net too. Please remember to get British made christmas cards and gift wrap too…and British made Christmas decorations and British made tinsel British made Christmas Crackers. Make it a Great British Christmas…

And for 2018 why not choose a British made diary

There are some great suggestions for British made gifts for Christmas at Make it British – thank you Make it British – Check out the @MakeitBritish gift guide for great gifts by clicking the link below #buybritishchristmas

Buy British Christmas Gifts – The Make it British Gift Guide

10 reasons for giving British made gifts this Christmas:

  1. Helping preserve the future of British manufacturing and craftsmanship
  2. You know where what you are buying is coming from
  3. You are preserving and creating jobs for British workers
  4. You are bestowing a gift that does not have a massive carbon footprint
  5. It gives you the chance to buy something of quality that will last
  6. You are encouraging others to buy British
  7. You are helping people to realise that we do still make many wonderful things in the UK
  8. You are being patriotic
  9. British factories have ethical hygienic production, fair wages & decent working conditions
  10. You are helping ensure future security of supply.

Please be careful to check the provenance of your gifts; there’s a tendency amongst many firms to claim British heritage in a way that misleadingly implies manufacture in the UK. Anything manufactured Britain, for example any of the items listed on this website, will make a good present and UK made gifts don’t have to be expensive either. Try the high street but I think you’ll have more luck finding British made Christmas presents online.

No more British steel in a years time? – A Truly British Family

What a terrible few weeks for British steel manufacturing. The SSI Redcar plant has closed with a loss of 2,200 jobs, Tata Steel has announced 1,200 job losses at its plants in Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire and Caparo, based in Oldbury, has now bought in the administrators.  This issue is becoming so severe that as many as 1 in 6 British steel […]

Source: No more British steel in a years time? – A Truly British Family – Consumer champions of manufacturing & farming

Britain needs a steel industry – let’s encourage the government to do something to rescue it before it’s too late.

Best of British: The manufacturing industries keeping tradition alive in modern Britain

A very positive article in the Daily Mirror on 25th February 2014 –

Britain’s factories and workshops employ 2.5 million people, making the UK world’s 11th biggest manufacturer. Here the Daily Mirror highlights some UK manufacturing:


Here is a copy and paste of the text in the article:

“Our factories and workshops employ 2.5 million people, making us the world’s 11th biggest manufacturer – here are the best of them

Continue reading

Britain for sale?

This article published on 9th December 2013 from the BBC makes interesting reading. The problem as I see it is when production is moved abroad. For example, HP Sauce is now made in the Netherlands. You might also like to see

I encourage you to ask for goods that are actually manufactured in the UK.

I have pasted the BBC article below.

Britain for sale?

“The UK is “open for business” is the message that is being sent by the government.

It is already the case that many British brands are foreign-owned. But, it’s a two-way street. The UK has its share of global companies and makes a tidy return from overseas investments.

First, in recent years, many of Britain’s best-known brand names have been snapped up by foreign companies.

The car industry is a particularly good example. The UK’s most prestigious marques, Rolls Royce and Bentley, have been respectively owned by BMW and Volkswagen since 1998.

Four years earlier, BMW had acquired the ailing Rover group. Unable to turn it around they broke it up in 2000 only keeping the Mini which has proved to be a commercial success.

Ford bought Land Rover while MG Rover was sold first to the Phoenix Consortium for a tenner before being rescued from administration by the Chinese Nanjing Automobile Group in 2005.

Ford had purchased Jaguar in 1990, but sold it along with Land Rover to India’s Tata Motors in 2008.

Aston Martin, however, is back in British hands. Well, sort of.

The Oxfordshire-based Prodrive led a consortium which bought the company from Ford in 2007. However, Ford maintained a 10% stake and the financing for the deal mainly came from US and Kuwaiti backers.

Last year, 37.5% was sold to an Italian private equity company.

Such is the way with big business today. A company from somewhere might be owned by another company from somewhere else, whose investors in turn come from all around the world.

It makes the question of ownership hard to pin down.

Last year, a survey conducted by the trade magazine The Grocer and the research firm Nielsen found that of the biggest 150 biggest grocery brands in the UK, just 44 are home-owned.

And of the 91 brands created in the UK, only 36 were still owned by British companies. The rest have been gobbled up by foreign multinationals and private equity groups.

This follows a series of high profile takeovers of famous British brands.

HP brown sauce was the inspiration of Frederick Gibson Garton, a Nottingham grocer in the late 19th Century.

It was so-called after he learned of it being consumed in the Houses of Parliament. In June 2005 the brand became part of the Heinz empire.

And to show what goes around comes around, Heinz itself was purchased earlier this year by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and the Brazilian global investment fund 3G Capital.

Last year, the Chinese company Bright Foods took a controlling 60% stake in Weetabix Ltd, which also owned the Alpen and Ready-Brek brands.

Branston Pickle, of which 28 million jars are sold every year in the UK, was acquired by the Japanese firm Mizkan who, by the way, already owned Sarsons Vinegar and Hayward’s Pickled Onions.

Cadbury, founded in Birmingham in 1824, was bought by the American Kraft Foods in 2010. It was then spun off into Mondelez International – Kraft Group’s international snack and confectionary business.

Britain’s other large confectioner Rowntree Mackintosh, founded in York in 1862, had been bought by the Swiss conglomerate Nestle in 1988 only one year after becoming a public company.

In 2008, the alcoholic drinks company Scottish & Newcastle was jointly purchased by Heineken of The Netherlands and Carlsberg of Denmark.

Traditionally British brews such as Newcastle Brown Ale, John Smith’s Bitter and Strongbow Cider are now part of Heineken UK, so basically owned by the Dutch.

One of the clear trends is that international brands are becoming increasingly owned by a small number of very large conglomerates. For instance, Pepsico, the Coca-Cola Company, Kraft, Nestle, Mars, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever own a staggering number of the world’s most recognisable brands between them.

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate, owns over 400 brands by itself.

This goes to show that big business increasingly dominates the global landscape. But it is also the case that Britain has a number of its own global titans. When it comes to acquisitions involving British and foreign companies it is not just a one-way street.

Two way street
Guinness is synonymous with Dublin and Ireland. Smirnoff originated from a Moscow distillery in the 1860s and is now one of the best-selling brands of vodka around the world.

Both brands are owned by Diageo, one of the UK’s top 100 listed companies and headquartered in London.

The company also owns 34% of Moet Hennessy. This means that leading French champagne brands Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot, as well as Hennessy cognac are a third owned by a British company.

Britain has plenty of big companies that have expanded aggressively around the world.

Vodafone is the second-largest mobile phone company in the world in terms of numbers of subscribers with a presence in over 70 countries.

Only China Mobile, with its large captive market, has more. The group has gobbled up plenty of its foreign rivals and often rebranded them as Vodafone along the way.

The largest acquisition was in 2000 when it bought the German company Mannesmann for £112bn.

At the time, this was the largest corporate merger in history and is still the largest by some considerable distance in UK corporate history.

The deal caused unrest in Germany as never before had such a large company been acquired by a foreign owner.

Further disquiet was caused when Vodafone reneged on a pre-merger deal to maintain the Mannesmann brand and rebranded the company Vodafone D2.

Tesco is the third largest retailer in the world after Wal-Mart and Carrefour.

It has as many outlets outside the UK as it does within it, with operations in 14 countries across Europe, Asia and North America. Tesco has already been in China, where it owns more than 100 stores, for more than a decade.

But Britain’s really big beasts are in oil and finance.

BP, formerly British Petroleum, started life as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1909 to manage the empire’s oil discoveries in Iran.

It now has operations in over 80 countries and is the second largest producer of oil and natural gas in the US.

In 2008 it merged with Amoco and largely rebranded their US operations as their own.

Shell is an Anglo-Dutch company with operations in over 100 countries. According to the Fortune Global 500 list, which ranks firms in terms of revenue, it is the largest company in the world ahead of Wal-Mart.

Plus, British banks and insurance companies are massive players on the world stage.

Britain’s biggest bank is HSBC – the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

It is also the second largest bank in the world in terms of assets held only after the Chinese state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

It was founded in Hong Kong in 1865 as the British Empire expanded trade into China. It essentially became a British bank in the early 1990s.

The takeover of Midland Bank was conditional on it moving its headquarters to London – that was part of the calculus in any case as the handover of Hong Kong back to China loomed then.

However, it remains predominantly a global bank with subsidiaries and operations in more than 80 countries.

Standard Chartered is Britain’s fifth biggest bank.

It operates in more than 70 countries but has no retail business in the UK.

In fact, most British people would have never heard of the bank if it did not currently sponsor Liverpool football club.

This makes sense, given the popularity of the English Premier League in its key overseas markets with 90% of its profits coming from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

It is a good example of a British company with a stronger presence overseas than at home.

Family silver?
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently reported that more than half the shares in quoted UK companies are owned by foreign investors.

Ten years ago, only a third of the shares were foreign owned and 20 years ago the proportion was only 13%.

So why have British companies become increasingly attractive to overseas buyers?

Perhaps it because they are relatively easy to buy?

A higher proportion of companies are publicly listed so the shares can be bought and sold freely.

Furthermore, fewer British firms are controlled by family trusts than in the US and Europe.

These can form powerful controlling groups that make direct takeovers difficult if the family does not want to sell.

The British government rarely blocks deals even if there is a “strategic” argument for so doing.

The privatisation programmes starting in the 1980s made many utility and infrastructure companies public companies and left foreigners free to buy shares.

Four of the big six energy companies, including most of the nuclear industry, are foreign owned. The same goes for British seaports, airports and railways.

More recently the fall in the value of the pound has made British companies cheaper to acquire.

When foreigners buy shares in or takeover a British company, the profits and dividend payments are transferred overseas.

There is a suspicion that these earnings are enhanced by outsourcing jobs to cheaper parts of the world and re-routing profits through jurisdictions with lower tax rates.

Thus, there is a recent push for tax reform and the government wants to publish a roster of ownership.

However, foreign ownership may also bring benefits.

Research by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics show that foreign-owned plants are, on average, more productive than domestically-owned establishments.

Multinationals can bring fresh ideas and expertise, such as new technologies and management practices. The same goes for British multinationals setting up in foreign countries.

The Spanish bank Santander already owned the Abbey National but there were few complaints in 2010 when it absorbed the Bradford & Bingley and the Alliance & Leicester building societies to become one of the largest UK retail banks.

At the time there was considerable relief it was prepared to use its balance sheet to avert two further potential Northern Rocks. Foreign investment is unsurprisingly welcomed when there is a need for cash.

In any case, Britain still owns far more direct investment assets overseas than vice versa. The ONS estimates that Britain currently has £1.1 trillion direct investment assets overseas, £300bn more than the rest of the world owns in the UK.

Britain also typically enjoys a surplus in investment income.

Since 2000, inflows of investment income have averaged 13.5% of GDP compared to outflows which have averaged 12.4% of GDP. This means each year Britain has received a net flow of investment income equal to 1.1% of GDP from the rest of the world.

It just goes to show that Britain has a long history of successfully buying other countries’ family silver.”

The Greatest Living Englishmen, of a fictional persuasion.

I just came across this very well written article – enjoy.

The True Brit Blog

In our long and proud history many heroic Englishmen have held the hopes of the nation proudly on their shoulders.

Warriors such as Nelson, Wellington, and Bader have inspired stories of incredible bravery and courage. Whereas politicians like Wilberforce and Churchill have secured their place in legend.

Fiction though has thrown up figures who embody many of the traits the English hold dear in their hearts – integrity, resourcefulness, and of course the ubiquitous stiff-upper-lip. Like many heroes they succeed where lesser mortals would falter, and create an image of how we would all like to be. Others have the ability to stoically endure the hardships and utter confusion of this life, something many of us struggle to emulate.

So here’s a list of my top five fictional Englishman…let me know if you think differently.

5) Jeeves

Where would lovable idiot Berty Wooster be without the redoubtable Jeeves? As the…

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