SME manufacturers have remained resilient and are optimistic despite Brexit uncertainty

The National Manufacturing Barometer has found that 57% of the 270 companies surveyed had recorded an increase in sales during the last 6 months. In addition, about 2/3 are expecting revenues to rise again during the first half of 2017. Moreover, half of the respondents revealed plans to invest in equipment and technology, while 46% hope to increase their workforce to cope with demand! For the full picture please read the bulletin below which was issued by Insider News Media today.

Roger Mundy, Managing Director, Beardsley Theobalds. 22nd March 2017

 

 

UK Manufacturers shrug off Brexit uncertainty

Small- to medium-sized UK manufacturers have remained resilient in the face of Brexit uncertainty and are optimistic about the coming months, according to new research.

The National Manufacturing Barometer, conducted by SWMAS Group in partnership with Economic Growth Solutions (EGS), found that 57 per cent of the 270 companies surveyed had recorded an increase in sales during the last six months.

About two thirds are expecting revenues to rise again during the first half of 2017.

Half of those questioned revealed plans to invest in equipment and technology, while 46 per cent hope to increase their workforce to cope with demand.

Simon Howes, managing director of SWMAS Group, said: “There has been a lot of talk about uncertainty around the impact of Brexit and the possible impact it could have on manufacturing, which makes the positive results from the latest Barometer very welcome.

“A 9 per cent surge in the number of SMEs reporting an increase in sales from the previous Barometer shows that orders are still being placed and, anecdotally, there is evidence of a spike in exports due to the fall in sterling.

“Encouragingly, there appears to still be a strong appetite to invest in technology and people to drive growth and productivity and that is something that could prove crucial if our SMEs are going to fulfil their aspirations.”

Meanwhile, 42 per cent of respondents do not know whether the UK Industrial Strategy is built to deliver their business needs, suggesting a “lack of visibility and understanding” among SME manufacturers. Just 17 per cent agreed that the direction of the strategy would work.

Lorraine Holmes, chief executive of Economic Growth Solutions and the recently launched Manufacturing Growth Programme, said: “Our SMEs are giving a strong message to government.

“They need to feel that the new strategy reflects their aspirations and will support them in making the most of new opportunities and overcoming some of the challenges they are and will continue to face.

“The budget – with additional money for disruptive technology and new T-Levels to boost technical skills – showed there is an appetite to support manufacturing and we’d urge government to listen to SMEs as we move forward.”