A positive manufacturing outlook lies ahead

Published:  24 January, 2022

Happy New Year - and what a rollercoaster of a beginning! At the end of last year, many manufacturers were nervous at the prospect of further restrictions but as we’ve seen over the last few weeks, this threat has now been significantly reduced and consequently UK manufacturing is seeing a very significant level of optimism returning. The recent Make UK growth outlook survey for 2022 has indicated that the majority of manufacturers surveyed believe that conditions will improve for the sector in 2022 and that opportunities will outweigh the risks. It was also highlighted that the emergence of the Omicron variant has not impacted this confidence as many manufacturers have seen little to no disruption because of it. But to take advantage of the opportunities that may present themselves in 2022 manufacturers need to prioritise improving productivity, skills, as well as new product development. In addition, changes in environmental practices need to be accelerated to begin transforming to net zero.

I strongly agree with Make UK Chief Executive, Stephen Phipson’s recent comments that it’s testament to the strength of manufacturers that they have emerged from the turbulence of the last couple of years in such a relatively strong position. Although as Phipson states, clouds remain on the horizon in the form of rapidly escalating costs and access to key skills, the outlook is more positive for those that remain adaptable, agile and innovative. The UK is in a strong position to begin to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead as we tentatively emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic, and I’m positive manufacturers will do just that! But to do this Phipson explains, we need a broader industrial strategy that sets out a long-term vision for the economy, and to ensure the Government is fully committed to supporting the sector at home and overseas.

Aaron Blutstein, editor

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