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'Good stead!' Businesses back Britain in bid to counter supply issues and shipping delays

A survey conducted by ‘Big Four’ accounting firm PwC and industry group Make UK found more than a third of manufacturers intend to use more UK-based suppliers. A total of 35 percent of industry bosses told the survey they would buy British and an extra 31 percent now expect to reshore part of their production back to the UK.

The news comes following a turbulent few years for the British economy.

The UK has suffered from supply chain problems and several Covid-induced lockdowns.

But looking ahead to the remainder of 2022, British manufacturers appeared to be more positive about potential growth.

Around three quarters of company chiefs surveyed said they expected conditions in manufacturing to improve.

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However, after little over a year since the UK severed ties with the European Union’s single market and customs union, the research also found up to two-thirds of companies said “leaving had moderately or significantly hampered their business”.

Despite this, another two-thirds of companies indicated the UK remains a competitive location for manufacturing.

In a boost for young people, almost half of manufacturers suggested companies still planned to invest in apprenticeships.

Speaking about the survey, Make UK chief executive Stephen Phipson said: “It’s testament to the strength of manufacturers that they have emerged from the turbulence of the last couple of years in such a relatively strong position.

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“While clouds remain on the horizon in the form of rapidly escalating costs and access to key skills, the outlook is more positive for those that remain adaptable, agile and innovative.

“To build on this we now need to see a Government fully committed to supporting the sector at home and overseas.

“This requires more than a Plan for Growth but a broader industrial strategy that sets out a long term vision for the economy and how we are going to achieve consistent economic growth across the whole country.”

Cara Haffey, PwC’s UK industrial manufacturing and automotive leader added: “Despite facing an unprecedented combination of continued Covid pressures, cost inflation and supply chain issues, our manufacturers are responding with an impressive amount of agility and resilience, which will stand them in good stead for the year ahead.

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“They have learned valuable lessons about their supply chain vulnerabilities and the resilience needed to respond to unforeseen international or domestic risks, and are strengthening their businesses digitally as well as continuing to focus on talent and skills.

“We are particularly pleased by the breadth of net zero ambitions reflected in the report.

“Across the UK we’re seeing an increasing number of businesses underpin their environmental, social and governance strategies with practical applications to decarbonise their operations and ambitions to build out their green skill base through the recruitment of ‘green’ jobs, a move that has already been flagged as outperforming the UK sector average in our recent Green Jobs Barometer.”



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