British industry most confident in two decades

MANUFACTURERS are at their most confident in 22 years, according to a survey that suggests the UK’s industrial growth may currently be outstripping that of services firms.

According to the latest business trends survey from BDO, the UK’s factory owners are more optimistic than at any point in the last two decades. The poll’s index for manufacturing has climbed even further to 120.8, far above 100, the level which indicates the sector’s long-term average.

Before now, the UK’s industrial base has not recovered as quickly as its services firms since the start of the crisis, and output in total still remains some way below what it was before the start of the financial crisis and subsequent recession.

BDO’s Peter Hemington said that a turn towards protectionism by politicians could be harmful to the sector’s current recovery: “Policymakers’ restrictions on immigration have not helped the UK labour market.  It would be disappointing if there was an equivalent move in industrial policy to protect companies in so-called strategic sectors.” 

Hemington added: “Open trade creates higher wealth and income and the UK’s tradition in this respect is a fine one.”