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BREXIT UNCERTAINTY WEIGHS HEAVY ON SME MANUFACTURERS LOOKING TO RECOVER FROM COVID-19 J H


ello readers and


welcome to the November issue of Irish Manufacturing. December/January features


include Plastics & Injection Moulding, Pumps & Pumping Systems, Test & Measurement, Food & Beverage, Machine Building, Flow & Level Control. If you are interested in


contributing to our December/January issue, please feel free to email me on rtucker@datateam.co.uk. Our media packs and feature lists are also ready for 2021, so please get in touch with myself or Zak if you would like a copy. I hope that everyone has a


wonderful festive season, however you celebrate it. And here’s hoping for a lighter and brighter 2021!


Rachel Tucker - Editor 


ust three per cent of small to medium-sized manufacturers in England believe Brexit will have


a positive impact on their recovery according to the latest Manufacturing Barometer. The report, which gathered intelligence from 409


companies across the country, revealed that uncertainty is still holding many management teams back, with 47 per cent admitting they have no idea how the transition out of the EU will affect their business. This worrying message is reinforced by an industry


that is still besieged by Covid-19 and living with constant changes to the way they operate. 62 per cent of respondents are still trading below pre-pandemic levels, whilst more than a quarter feel it will take between one and five years to get back to normal. Conducted by the SWMAS (the South West


Manufacturing Advisory Service) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), the survey is the largest of its kind in England and highlighted that nearly half of SMEs are still not convinced that the financial support currently in place will be enough help them survive Covid-19. When asked about the financial assistance they


require now, the top answer from 43 per cent of respondents was grants towards capital investment. This shows an appetite to spend, in order to improve productivity and achieve more sales, but indicates that further support is still needed to make this happen. Nick Golding, managing director of SWMAS,


commented: “SME manufacturers have been battered by Covid-19 and now they have the additional challenge of recovering with Brexit looming large on


  


the horizon. “It’s like a perfect storm for management teams


trying to plan, but have no idea what they are planning for and many are also coping with lower levels of resource as a result of the pandemic. “Our findings tell us that the majority of firms do


not think the transition from the EU will be a positive for their business and more support will be required to help them adjust to the new trading conditions, whatever they eventually look like.” He continued: “Many manufacturing firms will be


affected by issues, such as information transfer from Europe and new labelling requirements, even if they only supply into the domestic markets. The message is clear, businesses will need to regularly review the government transition support page for further clarity as and when it is published. 28 per cent of companies have increased sales


between April and September as the marketplace has picked up slightly, with 40 per cent predicting growth over the next six months. Encouragingly, nearly a third are expecting to recruit


more staff and similar numbers (38 per cent) are committing to investing in their business - a seven per cent increase from the number who predicted this in July’s Barometer. This reinforces the fact that a number of SME manufacturers are prioritising investments now to enable growth going forward. For further information and to read the full report,


please visit www.swmas.co.uk/knowledge/manufacturing- barometer


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4 NOVEMBER 2020 | IRISH MANUFACTURING


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