New EEF survey shows only half of UK manufacturers think Britain is a competitive place to do business, saying strong sterling, volatile markets, EU referendum pose big risks for 2016

Lauren Fedor
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Just 56 per cent of British manufacturers polled said they view the UK as a competitive location for manufacturing (Source: Getty)

Britain is “losing its gloss” as a global leader in manufacturing, according to a new poll out today from the EEF.

The annual survey, conducted by the EEF and Aldermore, found that just 56 per cent of British manufacturers view the UK as a competitive location for manufacturing, down dramatically from the 70 per cent recorded the previous year. More than one-third of manufacturers polled pointed to upward pressure on business costs in Britain as a risk to growth.

“The gloom that took the shine off UK manufacturing’s performance in 2015 is set to continue into 2016,” EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler said, adding: “Last week’s warning from the chancellor about a dangerous cocktail of economic risks chimes with concerns reported by manufacturers.

“With worries also extending to the competitiveness of the UK business environment this is a wake-up-call and I would urge the government to continue to work proactively with industry to mitigate risks and boost opportunities for our sector.”

Manufacturers polled cited concerns about global economic volatility as major risks for their business this year, with 42 per cent of respondents saying significant movements in exchange rates would be among the top risks they face. Other highly-cited risks included economic volatility in a major market (36 per cent) and uncertainty around Britain’ place in the European Union (36 per cent).

Carl D’Ammassa, a group managing director at Aldermore, said the survey “highlight(ed) the challenges that UK manufacturers are facing reinforces the belief that 2016 will be another tricky year for the industry”, but struck an optimistic note when he added that businesses “have their eyes open to mounting risks and are putting strategies in place to manage them”.

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