Is there a perception that there is a ‘continued decline’ of UK manufacturing and is it true?
Following a recent announcement in the press that a company with production facilities in Suffolk are 'having' to re-locate their operations outside the UK for 'economic reasons', we decided to conduct a quick bit of research into whether or not we could identify whether this was actually a general trend for manufacturing-based companies. Just in simple terms and trying to remain objective, to provide a bit of an overview of the situation.
If in fact there looks to actually be a general trend, what are the reasons for it, as we've all heard the comments and conjecture about manufacturing leaving the UK? But is it really true and if it is, what are the reasons? This is by no means an in-depth study, it’s literally just a brief snapshot of what the facts might be, to achieve a bit of balance, in our view, against some recent sad news.
First place we looked was themanufacturer.com, who state in their article on ‘UK Manufacturing Statistics’, (which is based on a report from the ONS), that “manufacturing contributes £6.7 trillion to the global economy.” It goes on to say: “Contrary to widespread perceptions, UK manufacturing is thriving, with the UK currently the world’s eighth largest industrial nation. If current growth trends continue, the UK will break into the top five by 2021. In the UK, manufacturing makes up 11% of GVA, 44% of total UK exports, 70% of business R&D, and directly employs 2.6 million people.”
So, that's good news then and in fact there is an uptrend in the UK's industrial sector as a whole, though some of the statistics get a little 'cloudy' when changes in the categories that some activities fall into are considered. Furthermore, "the ONS attributes the sustained growth to a better quality; more skilled workforce; a shift in production from low to high productivity goods; improvements in automation and technology; increased investment in R&D, and a more integrated global economy."
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