Blog: Simon WarburtonTreasure Zest?

Simon Warburton | 29 July 2010

You may have noticed there's been quite a trade mission from the UK in the past few days to India.

The new British prime minister - fresh from establishing his country as the 'junior partner' to the US in Washington - that should play well among the shires of England - has hotfooted it with an extraordinary collection of British top industry brass to India.

Cameron's got a shiny British Airways 747 for his jaunt - with 60-plus top industrialists there should just be enough bizzo seats to go round - although why the British PM - as in his French and German counterparts - hasn't  got his own aircraft is a mystery.

The former colonial master is now very much the pupil as India starts to flex its muscles and nowhere was this better illustrated than with British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne's visit to Tata Industries headquarters in Mumbai.

Tata is now the UK's largest manufacturer through its purchase of British manufacturing luminaries such as Jaguar Land Rover and the steelmaker, Corus.

So, bright eyed and bushy tailed and fired up by the new government's mantra "Open for Business" I eagerly rang Her Majesty's Treasury for chapter and verse on the Chancellor's visit to the hugely influential Tata.

But instead of optimistic soundbites and tub-thumping tales of manufacturing opportunities and inward investment, all I got was, well, nothing.

Not a dime, zero, niente, the Treasury seemed to know almost next to nothing about La Osborne's visit. "Just to confirm, the Chancellor did not make a speech," was as much as I got.

This is a pretty important visit isn't it? To the UK's largest manufacturer. On its home turf in India. And the Treasury has nothing to say.

I shouldn't be surprised. A quick look at HM Treasury's website still lists the British Chancellor of the Exchequer as: Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, complete with his team.

Who lost the election nearly three months ago.


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