‘Reshoring’: Why Cameron won’t give up on the west

David Cameron defied the rise of eastern superpowers like China and India at the World Economic Forum in Davos today, with a speech insisting: "I don't believe it has to be this way."

The prime minister has detected a "small but discernible trend" of 'reshoring' companies, which had sent jobs offshore, bringing manufacturing, call centre and textiles work back to Britain.

He told global political and business leaders gathered in the exclusive Swiss resort that commentators were wrong to have "written off" the west by declaring it faces "some sort of inevitable decline".

Cameron said: "Whether it's the shift from manufacturing to services or the transfer from manual jobs to machines, the end point is the same dystopian vision – the east wins while the west loses; and the workers lose while the machines win.

"I don't believe it has to be this way. Of course, we cannot be starry eyed about globalisation – it presents huge challenges as our economies and societies try to adapt. But neither should we take this pessimistic view."

Cameron pointed to a study from the government's Manufacturing Advisory Service last autumn found 15% of companies are returning production – more than triple the four per cent of firms which offshored in 2012.

He argued reshoring makes sense for firms because they can improve quality, shorten lead times, improve delivery performance and strengthen the supply chain.

"I want Britain to seize these opportunities," Cameron added.

"I think there is a chance for Britain to become the 'reshore nation'.

The government has launched 'Reshore UK', a one-stop shop to help both British and international companies resettle on Britain's shores.

Business secretary Vince Cable, in a rare burst of coalition unity, declared: "British industry is coming home."