Make UK/BDO survey shows Brexit uncertainty 'further harming industry prospects'
5 Jun 2019
Stockpiling in preparation for Brexit has slowed and export orders continue to fall, the latest MakeUK/ BDO quarterly survey has revealed.
Total order balances have halved in the second quarter of the year to +8%, although UK orders are at +11%.
While global pressures may account for some of the change, Make UK said this alone would not account for the weakening sales trend.
Head of manufacturing at BDO Tom Lawton stated: “Official data shows a consistently downward trend in investment intentions since the EU referendum in 2016. The impact is severe, with UK manufacturing at risk of investment paralysis as the uncertainty of Brexit drags on.
“Stockpiling is dying down and export orders continue to fall away as global competition keeps on increasing. Combine that with a government mired in chaos and we’re now starting to see a true reflection of the crippling anxieties the sector is facing.”
He added that firms had to prepare for a more “digitally-fluent” future, both in terms of technologies and people they employ – “but right now manufacturers are not confident of a future worth investing in.”
Manufacturers’ organisation Make UK’s chief executive Stephen Phipson said that, earlier in the year, “industry was on steroids as companies stockpiled”.
He continued: “Underneath, however, there is now growing evidence of European companies abandoning UK supply chains, whilst Asian customers balk at the unknown of what may exist as the UK leaves trade agreements which operate under EU rules.”