The century-old dilemma facing economists seeking to strike the right balance between guns and butter receives a new twist on Monday with figures showing Britain enjoying booming production of guns – and bicycles.
The fastest growing segments of UK manufacturing are weapons, followed by the bicycles and motorbikes.
Large UK weapons companies include divisions of BAE Systems and the missile maker MBDA, as well as smaller groups such as BSA Guns, based in Birmingham. In fact, BSA successfully combined both weapon and bicycle production until 1957, and continued making motorcycles until the early 1970s.
Among the groups in the second best performing business area – motorbikes and cycles – are the Triumph motorcycle company and the bicycle producer Pashley, both based in the Midlands.