Manufacturing growth predicted despite deficient government strategy

Posted on 29 Feb 2012 by The Manufacturer

A report released today by MHA, the UK wide group of independent accountants and business advisers, shows that 90% of surveyed manufacturers are dissatisfied with UK industrial strategy but are still predicting 2012 growth.

Despite 90% of manufacturers expressing dissatisfaction with long term industrial strategy in the UK the report from MHA shows that the sector is up-beat about growth prospects for 2012. Thirty three per cent of those surveyed predict growth of over 10%.

Of those issues identified as potential growth inhibitors the eurozone crisis was prominent. Out of 145 surveyed manufacturers and engineers almost 50% were concerned that the continuing eurozone crisis will have a negative impact on the economy.

While congratulating companies on their innovation and pro-active approach to managing eurozone uncertainty, MHA chairman Mike Brown said: “Within the UK economy, more guidance and support at the highest level is necessary to ensure growth for this vital sector.

He continued, “This survey shows immediate and extensive action is necessary to deliver this.  We would urge the Government to consider a wider national manufacturing strategy to support the sector and ensure it maintains its place as a leading player in the global economy.”

Other barriers to growth highlighted by the report include a lack of confidence with regard to R&D investment. A quarter of respondents had no plans for any R&D spend in 2012.

To support the generally positive outlook from the survey, investment in skills came out as the top growth facilitator for 2012. Sixty per cent of companies said they planned to take on apprentices in 2012.

This high number of companies planning to take on apprentices exists despite a lack of awareness over government funding for the vocational training route.

Almost half of the manufacturing firms surveyed believed they were not eligible for any grants. Only 20% of businesses which believe they are eligible are currently planning to take advantage grants. Red tape was cited as a major deterrent in applying.