Diamond Jubilee not so sparkly – celebrations blamed for slump

Posted on 7 Aug 2012

A decline in output caused by the Jubilee has prompted a rallying cry from Unite for the Government to ‘wake up’.

The Jubilee celebrations had a negative impact on manufacturing output, new statistics have revealed. This latest slump was all too predictable according to Unite who are accusing the Government of complacency in this time of continued economic turmoil.

The Office of National Statistics said that production had slumped after a 1.2 per cent rise in May. The extra bank holidays in June have been blamed for a decline in production which saw manufacturing output fall by 2.9 per cent.

Analysts were surprised by the figures, as they had initially forecast a slump of 4.1 per cent.

Ms Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “June’s sharp fall in output was to be expected given the disruptions to working patterns over the extra holidays. While the fall didn’t turn out to be quite as steep as indicated, feedback suggests that confidence remains fragile. There are still bright spots to be found in some export markets. The question is whether July’s data will confirm that output was simply displaced or if this is the beginning of a more worrying downward trend.”

Meanwhile Unite say that ‘alarm bells should be ringing’ and accused the Government of being in a ‘slumber of complacency’ by refusing to take action with the foreseeable figures.

Unite assistant general secretary, Tony Burke said:  “Britain needs to break out of the spiral of decline made in Downing Street. Osborne’s austerity is choking off demand and the banks refusal to lend is killing off any hope of a recovery.”

Burke calls for a National Investment Bank to support struggling businesses. He said this would allow businesses to bypass the existing banking structure that has ‘failed to lend and properly support British PLC’.

Some companies used clever tactics to get around the days off. Marketing manager at Triumph Motorcycles, Andrea Friggi said: “The factory always closes for the week following the last May bank holiday so we simply moved this annual shutdown to coincide with the Jubilee holiday.  It therefore had minimal impact on overall production figures”.

The news was not all bad, with some sectors increasing production. Manufacturers of pharmaceutical products and computer equipment seemed to be impervious from the holiday curse and actually increased output for the month.