Home » British manufacturers’ confidence at highest level in a decade as businesses hail ‘concrete signs’ of turnaround

British manufacturers’ confidence at highest level in a decade as businesses hail ‘concrete signs’ of turnaround

British manufacturers’ confidence at highest level in a decade as businesses hail ‘concrete signs’ of turnaround

British manufacturers’ confidence is at its highest level in a decade as businesses hail ‘concrete signs’ of an economic turnaround.

A closely watched survey of firms has revealed a rebound in companies’ hopes about their growth prospects.

Both output and orders have improved in recent months, according to Make UK, which represents the UK manufacturing sector.

Firms’ confidence is now at a level 7 – on a scale between 1 to 10. This is only the second time it has ever been this high, since the group started measuring business sentiment in 2014.

Businesses last felt this optimistic in the second quarter of 2021 when the economy was enjoying a major rebound after Covid. Make UK said the manufacturing sector will outpace the overall economy this year as it is expected to grow by 1.2 per cent.

Confidence: Output and orders have improved in recent months, according to Make UK

The survey of 320 employers will be a boost for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before the country heads to the polls on July 4.

And it is welcome news for businesses, which are hopeful that interest rates will fall in the near future as inflation continues to cool.

James Brougham, senior economist at Make UK, said: ‘At long last, manufacturers can see concrete signs of growth and a much better economic outlook ahead.’

He added: ‘The next government must capitalise on this scenario by delivering a modern, long-term industrial strategy which goes beyond the 2030s and has cross-government support.’

Around 64,000 vacancies are costing the industry a shocking £6billion in lost output per year, Make UK says.

With demand soaring and green shoots of recovery showing, more businesses are planning to recruit over the next few months.

The group wants to see politicians pledge to fix a skills shortage by ‘a fundamental review’ of the apprenticeship funding system and a wider training system.

Since the current apprenticeship levy was introduced in 2016, the number of new apprenticeships has dropped 41 per cent from 78,840 in 2015/16 to 45,970 in 2022/23.