A leading business group has said that it is surprised by new figures out today showing a sharp slowdown in UK manufacturing.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) quarterly economic survey (QES), based on responses from nearly 7,500 firms, recorded drops in all the key manufacturing balances in the second quarter, with most balances lower than their average pre-economic crisis levels.
Responding to the results, BCC director-general John Longworth said: “The manufacturing sector has battled against structural problems for years but, even in that context, the scale of the slowdown being experienced by our manufacturers is a surprise and a concern.”
“Part of the reason might be down to the strength of sterling against the euro and the dollar. But currency fluctuations are not the only issues at stake,” he added.
Longworth called upon chancellor George Osborne to address “structural” problems hampering growth in manufacturing in tomorrow’s emergency summer Budget, saying the government should increase investment in infrastructure spending and do more to help British businesses working in new markets overseas.