GB News guest passionately lauds UK in 'Buy British' row: 'Stop doubting UK - stop outsourcing!'

Eamonn and Isabel

Eamonn and Isabel hosted a Buy British debate on Thursday

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 28/09/2023

- 09:37

Eamonn and Isabel hosted a debate on Thursday morning on whether we need to buy more British produce

A GB News guest has passionately called for the public to buy more British produce following a new survey which revealed the majority of people want to see more British manufacturing.

Isabel Webster and Eamonn Holmes welcomed Alex Petropoulos and Matthew Goodwin-Freeman to debate whether it was time for people to only buy British in today's market.

"Let's start with the argument against though," Isabel said as she kicked off the debate. "Because I think most of our audience will probably be waking up to this this morning thinking absolutely support British where we can."

Petropoulos replied: "When you say, 'Buy British', it sounds all good. But when you look at the reality of where we are right now, you have to say, look, we're living in a cost-of-living crisis.

"Prices are going up and saying, 'Buy British' is just code for saying buy more expensive products.

"And it's really code not just for buying more expensive projects but forcing the British people to buy more expensive products.

"What this debate is all about is about giving people choice and letting people, you know, have the ability to choose and make up their mind and say, you know, I think this product is actually better whether or not it's made in Britain.

"I don't think it's appropriate in the cost of living crisis," Petropoulos argued but Eamonn promptly hit back at his claims.

Matthew Goodwin-Freeman

Matthew Goodwin-Freeman passionately defended the UK


The Breakfast star weighed in: "But Alex, is it really more expensive? Because, you know, the employment that it generates, the taxes that it generates that go back into the economy today.

"And the simple fact that it's probably the right thing to do almost morally," Eamonn said, which prompted Petropoulos to reply: "You know, I think that you could frame it like that.

"But when you're framing it like that, you're saying, should we help this one very small group of manufacturers and there's one very small group of businesses, or should we look at be looking out for the whole country?

"And, you know, there might be some marginal benefits from taxation," Petropoulos admitted but caveated: "At the end of the day if it was cheaper to buy British, people would be doing it already. And if it was better for the economy, they'd be doing it already."

Isabel put Petropoulos' point to Goodwin-Freeman who remained unconvinced that avoiding buying British was beneficial.

He explained: "Well, I mean, to an extent that is true because the manufacturing breakdown shows that the UK only produces two percent of the world's manufacturing and China is up there at 29 percent and the US is at 17.

"So we're completely right that if we want to get buying British made in British, we've got the scale up.

WATCH NOW: Buy British debate 

"So that's why we look at stuff like leveling up, that's £11 billion of investment in leveling up and bringing opportunity around the country.

"And last last month, the government announced £33 million into British jobs for the future and looking at green jobs.

"I completely agree that if we're looking right here, right now, yes, British products and British goods are going to be slightly more expensive than others that can be imported from elsewhere.

"But we need to look at the future," Goodwin-Freeman argued. "We need to look at our future because the war in Ukraine, everything that Russia's done, and our reliance on China has proven that we've got to get back to made in Britain.

"And it was one of the first things I said when I ever came on this show on GB News. I said I want to see Made in Britain come back again."

Eamonn cut in to reminisce about his time growing up and buying British products and how attitudes have changed as he declared: "Okay, but Matthew, you said look at the future. But I could just bring you back to the past.

"And in the early 70s, there was a hole by British campaign. There were adverts on television. There were stickers that you could put on your car to say I'm buying British.

"And it was almost a badge of shame if you bought a Fiat or a Citroen as opposed to an Austin or a Morris or something like that.

Alex Petropoulos

Alex Petropoulos argued buying British wasn't the way forward


"What I'm trying to say is, they've tried it before. It didn't go anywhere. Why did it not go anywhere? Probably because, as Alex was saying, it's probably too expensive."

Goodwin-Freeman answered: "Well, this is the thing. If we want British products to be cheaper than the market, we need to stop outsourcing ourselves to everywhere else in the world.

"We need to start building new factories here in the UK, putting focus here on the UK, encouraging people in the UK to take British jobs, build those vacancies.

"We've talked before about the one and a half million job vacancies, but the million people on benefits, we could fill that overnight and get British people in British jobs.

"You know, it's gonna take time to get Britain up two percent to 29 percent, but we can do that. We absolutely can do that.

"Because if we don't try, we'll never know. And that's the thing. We can't doubt this country. We've got to look forward with aspiration."

Isabel weighed in to suggest that perhaps consumers should "buy less stuff" from the "tax-dodging" big-money corporations that currently rule the market in order to save the money in order to buy British.

Petropoulos concluded his argument as he replied: "You know, you could be right there. But I think that, you know, the opponent was right to say we should be aspirational for Britain, we should want Britain to do its best.

"But I think that forcing people to buy British now would be doing exactly the opposite of that.

"Because let's be honest, we aren't the best at building everything and we shouldn't set ourselves this false illusion that we can do everything and we can just go back to the past how it was.

"It's not the past anymore. We can't go back to being this incredible manufacturing nation."

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