British manufacturers are spending more to stay ahead


The attitudes to Business Investment survey has revealed that 87 per cent of manufacturers have said they are investing to improve efficiency with four in five manufacturers planning to invest to support export in 2016.

There was an acknowledgement of the need for Government support, with 70% of manufacturers saying that they would like to see more done to encourage export activity, particularly when it comes to cutting red tape

Ian Isaac, Head of Lombard, who commissioned the research, said, “It’s very encouraging that UK manufacturers are taking an enterprising approach to the importance of investing to secure their place in the competitive global arena.”

Isaac adds, “The findings of the survey indicate that UK manufacturers are very aware of what they need to do in order to secure ongoing and sustainable growth. Within their business plans, investment aimed at securing innovation, improving productivity and establishing strong export markets will continue to be fundamental to securing the future health of the UK economy.”

The Attitudes to Business Investment survey is in very much in tune with what EEF The Manufacturer’s Organisation has found from its members.

Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation, comments, “It’s the worst kept secret that the UK has a big productivity challenge. We’ve lost a lot of ground since the financial crisis, but the UK has some real potential strength in its industrial sector, which historically has a good track record in delivering productivity gains. The need for a laser-like focus on driving through efficiency improvements, innovating and investing in new technologies is central to the business model of manufacturers, a fact confirmed in this new research. While we see lots of concrete steps being taken by manufacturers to grow and be competitive in a challenging economic climate, it’s never job done.

“To get manufacturing growth and productivity on a stronger trajectory we want to see more companies investing in major technological advances, a strong commitment to industrial strategy from government and finance providers working in partnership with industry to make investment plans a reality.”

Alby Pattison is Managing Director of Hartlepool-based Hart Biologicals, a successful medical science manufacturer that exports 80 per cent of its products.

Alby Pattison said, “Lombard’s research finding that manufacturers are investing to support export matches our own experience. We’ve invested over £500,000 to date which has ensured that we are able to support new orders coming in and we’ll continue to expand our capacity to secure new export contracts.”

Ian Isaac concludes, “The survey demonstrates that many UK manufacturers recognise that investment in innovation is needed to drive competitiveness and efficiency. These businesses are taking the positive steps needed to equip themselves to operate within the demands of the global marketplace. However, it will be vital that the broader UK economy adopts this strategy of ongoing investment so that the UK continues to move forward.”