Manufacturing in the Marginals: The Impact of a Trade Deal on the ‘Blue Wall’ Seats
Manufacturing in the Marginals: The Impact of a Trade Deal on the ‘Blue Wall’ Seats analyses official electoral data alongside the Office for National Statistics’ Business Register and Employment Survey. It maps the economic impact of potential tariffs on constituencies for the first time.
The report finds that 35 electoral seats gained by the Conservatives in the last election have more manufacturing jobs than a political majority. It finds that 20 of these seats have at least twice as many jobs as they have a Conservative majority.
Constituencies that are particularly at risk include Bury North, which was won by the Conservatives’ James Daly in 2019 with a majority of 105. The report finds there are more than 40 times more manufacturing jobs, with 4,215 roles in the area. Others include High Peak (Robert Largan MP), Bolton North East (Mark Logan MP) and Blyth Valley (Ian Levy MP).
Although one job lost or at risk does not mean one vote lost to the governing party, this could seriously threaten the Conservative Party’s electoral strategy of holding and extending its reach in the former Labour heartlands in the Midlands and North. The report argues that if a significant proportion of these manufacturing jobs are lost as a result of new trade barriers, compounding the harm already arising from COVID-19, then the wider economic consequences will reverberate in these constituencies – and lead to demands for a political response.
The report also finds:
- The average manufacturing dependency in seats in the Red/Blue Wall electoral ‘battleground’ is 14%, significantly higher than the national average.
- In some cases, these jobs are heavily concentrated in a particular sector. For example, in Bury, where the Conservatives won two seats on very slim majorities, and in neighbouring Heywood and Middleton, the scale of employment in the chemical industry is very high – amounting to 4,495 jobs. That stands against 1,170 votes that represents the combined majority of Conservative MPs in these seats.
Click to read the report below:
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