Britain’s manufacturers are suffering a “nosedive” as a perfect storm of Brexit uncertainty, slowdown in major markets and trade wars takes its toll, a new study suggests.
A survey of almost 300 firms by manufacturers organisation Make UK and business advisory firm BDO LLP indicated that a weaker currency is not helping, with export orders down despite prices falling.
The report said all the indications were that foreign customers are not buying British goods even though they are 6% cheaper than this time last year.
Seamus Nevin, chief economist at Make UK, said: “Industry is facing a perfect storm of factors, compounded by a hard Brexit which could not be coming at a worse possible time.
“In normal circumstances a global slowdown on its own would be enough, but add trade wars and the biggest shock to our economy since the war and there seems little doubt that, barring a remarkable turnaround, the sector may be heading for recession.”
Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing at BDO, added: “Global competition, skills shortages, lack of a coherent industrial strategy from government and continuing technological disruption has made UK manufacturing a challenging sector for decades.
“The long shadow cast by the possibilities of a no-deal Brexit and the uncertainty of recent months has only added to the difficulties for the sector.
“A cliff-edge decision on a deal or no-deal Brexit will mean a double whammy of continuing weaker demand for products and fundamental disruption to supply chains.”
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