Manufacturing in the UK represents the best and most profitable opportunity for growth in the economy, according to a speaker at a meeting of finance professionals in the City yesterday.
Bibby Financial Services’ Fit for the Future conference heard from economist Dennis Turner who said that a trend towards reshoring manufacturing is helping to improve industries’ contribution to the wider economy.
Furthermore, as emerging markets continue to provide new opportunities, speakers at the conference said that small and medium sized businesses in the UK were set to help drive macro economic recovery through exports.
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Dennis Turner, former HSBC chief economist, said: “We need to focus on one truly international sector – manufacturing.
“Manufacturing is the key to sustainable growth for the next 25 years, not just the next five. Most people think that we packaged it up and sent it to China decades ago.
“We’re witnessing the end of large-scale outsourcing – the dominant trend for the next two decades will be insourcing back to the UK, which will act as a catalyst for a tangible manufacturing recovery.
“British manufacturing output peaked in 2006 – it has been growing but not as quickly as everything else. It’s decline has been relative against higher growth service sectors.
“At the same time, growth has previously been based on domestic sectors and was not sustainable – whereas increasing exports and taking those opportunities abroad will generate much more significant growth.
“We have so much going for us in this country as seen in sectors such as manufacturing, and it really is time to ditch our national pastime of talking down the economy.”
David Postings, UK chief executive of Bibby Financial Services, said: “Our manufacturing clients have consistently performed well over the past 18 months and we expect further growth this sector – particularly where alternative finance solutions are providing the support they need.
“Businesses coming out of recession can be as vulnerable as those going into one, which is why we are challenging businesses today and asking if they are fit for the future to take on the challenges of recovery”, he added.
Yesterday’s ‘Fit for the Future’ conference at The Brewery, Chiswell Street brought together over 200 accountants, solicitors, financial advisers and finance brokers and focused on how the adviser community can help UK SMEs get into shape for the future.
Other speakers at the event were editor of the Government-backed ‘SME Finance Monitor’ Shiona Davies; barrister and former VP of Sony BMG Clive Rich; ex-Dragons’ Den investor Richard Farleigh; UK chief executive of Bibby Financial Services, David Postings, and BBC journalist Declan Curry.