British manufacturers positive for 2022 despite Brexit and inflation

FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises over a factory at dusk in Rugby, UK on February 10, 2021. REUTERS/Matthew Childs

LONDON (Reuters) – British manufacturers are optimistic about improving business conditions and productivity this year, a sector survey published on Monday showed, although most said they were hurt by Brexit and rising costs.

UK trade authority and accounting firm PwC said 73% of manufacturers believe conditions in the sector will improve, and 78% expect at least a moderate increase in productivity in 2022.

However, two-thirds of companies said Brexit has hampered their business in the nearly two years since the UK left the EU, noting that staff retention and rising production costs linked to inflation are also a challenge.

“The fact that manufacturers have emerged from the turmoil of the past two years in a relatively strong position is a testament to their strength,” said Stephen Pepson, chief executive of Make UK.

“To take advantage of this situation, we need the government’s commitment to support the sector,” he said, adding that the government needs a long-term view of the economy.

On the back of supply chain shortages related to Brexit and last year’s pandemic, more than a third of those surveyed said they would move some operations abroad in the next two years, while just over half said they would not. to the United Kingdom.

According to a similar survey, the number of British manufacturers that raised prices last month reached its highest level in at least two decades, as the Bank of England raised interest rates to 0.25% to help curb inflationary pressures.

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(Reporting by Victor Jacques, Editing by David Milliken, translated by Thomas Cobos)

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