Speech inaugurating Taylor Woodrow Research Laboratory
|Document type:||public statement|
|Venue:||Taylor Woodrow Research Laboratory, Southall, West London|
|Source:||Thatcher Archive: transcript|
|Themes:||Conservatism, Industry, Trade, Science and technology, Taxation, Privatised and state industries|
First, [Sir Frank Taylor] Sir Frank, thank you for that wonderful introduction. We are indeed grateful for all the work that you yourself do for Britain and the example which Taylor Woodrow and all of its employees set to many other companies. I come here really in a sense of admiration for your achievements. You have, in fact, literally built the foundation of our cities, built the foundation of many of our industries, much of our commerce, much of our new development in energy and much of our public services, and you've done it because you have always believed in excellence and you believed in delivering what you said you'd deliver, and you believe in quality and that really is the supreme way to get on. So I come first in a sense of admiration for your achievement; secondly because you really are a wonderful example of free enterprise.
Now you, Frank, ventured just a little bit into politics but you know there's one thing you notice across the world: the countries which have extinguished free enterprise have extinguished freedom at the same time. The two go absolutely together, so in practising the principles of free enterprise you are not only building up a wonderful company but you are, in fact, ensuring the freedoms which we take for granted until we observe what their absence does to the lives of citizens in other countries, and third, when things have sometimes been difficult, and I know exactly what its like in industry, if things are going well you are worried that they will not be next year and if they're not going well you wonder if they are ever going to get better, so you have always got a worrying time, but if ever you have a worrying time you have not stopped at looking for business at home; you've gone the world over and got every sort and kind of award for your achievements. Indeed the map which I saw as I came in, which shows where Taylor Woodrow operates all over the world, seems to me an excellent way of learning one's geography. There is scarcely a country in which you do not operate and in doing that you've been working not only for the future of the company but for the benefit of Britain as a whole, because we could not have the standard of living we enjoy without the exports and the export earnings which you are in fact achieving for us, and in doing that you also act as[fo 1] ambassadors for Britain, because as you know I always believe that Britain is quite the best country in the world and we are quite the best people. Every time I go abroad I come back reinforced in that belief, and I just hope that the work we do overseas demonstrates that more clearly than the speeches of politicians.
Fourthly, you know that if we are to keep one step ahead of our competitors we have got to invest in research and development. I remember several years ago reading a book. It was one of the Peter Drucker books—he's American but he does write some very good things, I mean we might as well let them have just a little bit of the advantage as well as us—and I came across a chapter called the "Knowledge Based Society". It's absolutely right; we're moving into industries in which we shall not achieve and not keep ahead unless they are based on new knowledge, the application of that new knowledge and technology in the latest techniques.
So to keep one step ahead we must invest in these things and as a matter of fact when we do invest in them we are very good at it, very good at it. We have some of the best research; we are not always as quick as some other companies in applying it to technology. You are, and our problem is to apply the results of the excellent research we do in this country to the technology and to translate that technology into commercial advantage and here you are, you are doing it and I come to pay tribute to you for that and to say that you are an example to many others.
Now fifthly and finally Sir Frank, you quite clearly expect something of Governments, and indeed with doing all that in private enterprise you are entitled to. Our job is not to hinder your progress, our job is to facilitate the inventiveness, the resourcefulness, the initiative and the endeavour you have here so that you may work for the betterment of your family and your company and for Britain. We have made our start.
Today we see here bricks and mortar and equipment but we see also in industry a living structure of human beings and you don't stimulate industries, you stimulate people, and if you stimulate people you will get the results. That's the[fo 2] approach which we have adopted and that's why we put top of our list, tax incentives at every single income level whether it be by taking people out of tax because their incomes are not high enough to pay it, whether it be the real middle income groups who know they are paying too much of their earnings away and believe quite rightly they could spend it better themselves than Governments could, so a bigger proportion back into the pockets of those who earn it, and always, always we have to stimulate those who are capable of having the new ideas and those who give leadership, without which the rest of us would have nothing to follow.
So we have made a start on that, we have made a start on making more land available by suspending the Community Land Act and we have made a start on cutting the amount of work which you have to do in filing cabinets because we believe that you can do better if you have less to do in that direction. We know that if we make these opportunities available companies like this will take advantage of them.
I know you're not called employees in this company; you're called team workers. Well, I'm a member of a team too, and I hope that our team will help your team to do your team's job and I hope your team will help our team to go in the direction we are going. (I am not only Prime Minister, the important thing is I'm First Lord of the Treasury.) Many congratulations and it gives me great pleasure to perform this opening ceremony.