UK manufacturers taking Brexit uncertainty in their stride and focusing on growth

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:
Tom Lawton, partner and head of manufacturing, BDO LLP

With under one year to go until Brexit, four out of five of UK manufacturers say they feel no clearer on the UK’s future with the EU, according to the latest poll by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP.

The UK’s manufacturers are a vital segment of the nation’s economy and they seem to be taking the current economic and political uncertainty in their stride. UK manufacturers have their sights set on growth as two-thirds (66%) are feeling confident in achieving their growth ambitions this financial year. Just under a third (32%) expect up to 5% revenue growth, over a fifth (22%) expect between 5%-10% growth and 6% are expecting more the 10% growth.

Growth intentions of the UK’s manufacturers does not stop there as three quarters (76%) are continuing with investment plans for the year ahead.

Over half (56%) of those surveyed have revised their business strategy, with a further quarter (26%) revising their international growth strategy as a measure to support the economic and political developments that may affect their business as a result of Britain leaving the EU.

Tom Lawton, partner and head of manufacturing, said: “The business community has really been left in limbo while the Government continues its Brexit discussions. But UK manufacturing continues to be remarkably resilient as this sector powerhouse focuses on growth, investment and revising business plans to make the most of the opportunities that come from Brexit.”

However, to sustain their growing contribution to the UK economy, manufacturers have called for a focus on domestic policies while the Government continues its international negotiations. When asked which policy would best help their businesses grow now and in a post-Brexit future, over half (52%) of UK manufacturers surveyed named tackling the UK skills crisis as the number one priority.

As well as boosting skills of the UK’s workforce, creating the right environment for businesses and local communities across the UK to flourish was a priority for 44% of these businesses as they called for more investment in smart physical and digital infrastructure.

A further 40% of manufacturers called for government to help make doing business at home easier by simplifying the UK tax system.

Lawton added: “The contribution of the UK’s thriving manufacturers to our national economy – and their resilience at times of disruption is clear and profound. With less than one-year to Brexit, it’s vital that the Government focuses on creating a simple and stable environment that allows manufacturers to continue to drive growth for the UK and ensure we remain a strong nation to do business with.”

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