‘Cash will be king’ for West Midlands manufacturers looking to make the most of the first signs of economic recovery, it was predicted by the region’s leading industry support body.
Simon Griffiths, chief executive of the Manufacturing Advisory Service-West Midlands, is urging banks and other lenders to help the sector bounce back from the downturn by increasing access to finance and, importantly, at reasonable rates.
Griffiths believes that companies in the area are being hamstrung by a lack of refinancing options and unfair lending conditions, which are disrupting day-to-day operations, the purchasing of raw materials, supplier payments and, in some instances, firms looking to expand and create jobs.
“Recent surveys by the EEF and CBI predict an upturn in manufacturing over the next six months, and whilst we should all welcome this news, we have to be mindful of history telling us that a lot of firms fall victim of the growth that follows a recession,” said Griffiths, who spent more than 25 years with Land Rover and GKN.
“That is why it is so important that banks and other lending institutions treat manufacturers fairly and ensure they have the same access to finance and loans as other sectors so they can continue to trade, win new business, and move a sector that employs 330,000 people locally back into positive territory.”
The Chief Executive of MAS-WM was also keen to stress that funding will be vital in making sure our companies continue to innovate, bring out new products and capitalise on the massive opportunity presented by the strength of Sterling against the Euro. Recent movements in the exchange rate mean that West Midlands manufacturers are now some 30% more competitive than a couple of years ago, but once again need the money and credit insurance in place to make exporting viable.