BUY British – that’s the message of a Poole lecturer launching an ambitious campaign to boost the economy.

Mike Plummer, who has just stood down as a Poole councillor after 14 years, was so dismayed by the UK’s swelling trade deficit figures, which showed we imported £3.8bn more in goods and services than we exported in May, that he decided to take action.

The 55-year-old father of two is thinking big with a campaign which he hopes will go national, encouraging millions to buy more goods produced in this country, so boosting the economy, creating jobs and filling government coffers in the process.

Mike, a lecturer at Bournemouth University and Bournemouth and Poole College who specialises in international trade and marketing, has done his research.

Among the staggering figures he is using to back up his campaign are that Britain imports 143,000 tonnes of chicken from Brazil and Thailand every year, 70 per cent of all fish eaten in the UK comes from foreign waters and in 2008 we spent £436.8 million on imported bottled water.

His message is simple. Be more selective when you shop, buy British where you can, and where you can’t ask the shop why it doesn’t have a British-produced version, so prompting them to change what they stock.

“If we can get a small number of people to support this I’m hoping we can start the avalanche,” he said.

“The more people support British industry, the more jobs created, the more income tax to the treasury and more VAT receipts, and the less unemployment benefit and tax credits.

“I genuinely believe we can help this country by spending our way out of recession. People power can turn the country around.”

By writing to the heads of various bodies and businesses – and asking them to feed the message down to everyone in their organisations – he is hoping that he will reach 8m people.

Starting local he is already made contact with the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bournemouth and Poole councils, the TUC, the National Federation of Women’s institutes, the Towns Women’s Guilds, and plans to approach businesses and schools.

He has also set up a website which lists companies supplying UK produced goods.

He added: “In most European countries people support their own industry first. We are the exception to that rule – or appear to be.

“I’m not saying people please don’t buy foreign goods – I’m just saying please think.”

Mike, who resigned as a councillor for the sake of the campaign which he felt should be a-political, added: “This is about ordinary people saying enough is enough – let’s stand up and start supporting the UK – no foreign government is going to get upset about that.

He added: “I’m not necessarily the right person for the job – I just happen to be a person prepared to go out on a limb. I believe it has to be done.”