No Brexit blues as manufacturers expect exciting 2017

Posted on 13 Jan 2017 by Fred Tongue

According to a recent report over two thirds of manufacturing businesses expect to see growth this year despite the impact of Brexit.

According to the findings of the Business Census 2017 report 7o% are predicting a growth in turnover in 2017, despite the possible ramifications of Brexit. The report surveyed more than 1,300 firms and was carried out during November and December. 

Despite the overall positive responses about the coming 12 months, manufacturers were less positive about the impact Brexit has already had on their business. More than a third (34%) said that the vote to leave had already had a negative impact on their business. On the other hand, almost a quarter (22%) said that Brexit had been positive and 42% saying that there had been no impact on their business. 

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Katie Deverill, from Company Check, said: “The Business Census lets us ‘take the temperature’ of UK manufacturing to understand the big challenges they’re going to be facing during the next 12 months. Brexit may have already had a chilling effect on future business growth in some places, but business leaders still appear confident individually about their prospects for the year ahead.

“That said, however, there’s also high levels of disaffection with local authorities when it comes to them supporting and nurturing business growth. The powers that be should take note of these figures and recognise that something in the current system just isn’t working.”

The manufacturing sector was slightly less upbeat compared to the survey as a whole, with 70% of manufacturers expecting growth in contrast to 73% for the survey as a whole. Only 27% believed that local government was doing a good enough job to support industry growth.

Martin Hurworth, managing director of British manufacturing business Harvey Water Softeners, said: “The manufacturing industry has experienced some challenges, but the latest GDP figures are proof that we are growing through uncertainty. In a post-Brexit economy, manufacturing in the UK will be more important than ever. We need bold action and certainty to give companies a reason to stay here and invest.

“The results of the Business Census show that the economy is still a concern in our industry and we recognise there are some potentially challenging times ahead. But we’re confident in our future as a British family business and are positioned for growth, with plans to invest significantly in the local area and R&D.”

The Business Census questioned people working across the UK. Nationally, concerns about political events almost doubled compared to 2016, with it being named the biggest challenge ahead by one in three (30%), an increase of 90% on the year before.

For manufacturing that figure was slightly lower than average (28%), with the economy topping the list instead at 33%. This could be reflective of the fact that the economy was the biggest challenge for manufacturers in 2016 too. And more than a quarter of firms (28%) said they feared economic decline next year, in line with the UK average.