UK manufacturing firms faced “severe pressure” on their supply chains in December ahead of the Brexit deadline, causing shortages of crucial parts, a survey has shown.
It comes after 10-mile lorry queues were witnessed in Calais over the weekend, as businesses tried to stockpile in case of a no-deal Brexit.
Britain and the EU are yet to strike a free-trade agreement. This has caused businesses a major headache, sending them scrabbling to prepare for all outcomes.
The latest evidence of the effect of high levels of uncertainty came in a closely watched business survey today.
Data firm IHS Markit said around 45 per cent of firms reported longer wait times from suppliers in December.
It was the third-steepest lengthening of wait times since the purchasing manager’ survey started in 1992. Only the Covid shutdowns of April and May caused more stress to supply chains.
Backlogs of work in the manufacturing sector rose at the fastest pace since 2010 in December, IHS Markit said.
“Many essential materials were not getting through,” said Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, which produced the survey with IHS Markit.
“Manufacturing companies were also paying the price of goods shortages,” Brock said.
He said December saw “the highest rise in cost inflation since June 2018 as shipping and commodity prices soared”.