Last updateTue, 16 Apr 2024 11am

UK Manufacturing PMI: Manufacturing continues to stall and government fails to act

Following the release of the latest UK Manufacturing PMI today (2 May), Chris Barlow, partner at MHA, says UK manufacturing is languishing in an era of stagnation as international competitors pull ahead:

“When considering today’s figures it has to be born in mind that we still, as a country, lack an industrial strategy to provide a long-term vision for UK manufacturing. The sector needs reassurance and support from the government to really thrive: by and large it hasn’t been getting it.
“Recently there have been lots of missed opportunities.
“The news that Unipart is considering moving investment to the US or Europe due to the subsidies offered there is a worrying sign. The US is spending billions to help electric car firms and green energy and Europe is planning to relax state rules in green sectors but there has been no announcement from the UK. Surely the government should be ahead of the curve and not just reacting to other announcements?
“In addition, although some incentives put in place at the Spring Budget were useful it has too often been one step forward two steps back.
“For example, we’ve also seen reductions in the vital R&D relief for SMEs. This means that these businesses will not be rewarded or encouraged to put their time into innovation. The review of R&D relief to root out inappropriate claims was necessary but the measures taken have detrimentally affected SMEs and this needs to be reversed.
“The good news is that demand across the sector is generally high. There are also small signs some supply chain issues are starting to ease. Finally, although labour and skill shortages remain businesses are continuing to invest in training with a view to equipping employees with the new skills. This underlines the sector’s resilience.”



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