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Crowe Report Highlights Challenges and Opportunities for UK Manufacturing Sector

by Anna

Crowe, in collaboration with the Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM), has released its Manufacturing Outlook Report 2024, shedding light on the current state of the UK manufacturing market and offering insights into how government support can bolster the sector.

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Amidst global geopolitical shifts and economic uncertainties, the manufacturing sector has been keenly focused on identifying areas where policy support and intervention can drive transformation and growth. The report underscores the need for targeted government initiatives to address key challenges faced by manufacturers.

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Key findings from the report include:

A significant majority (87%) of manufacturers express dissatisfaction with the existing level of government support for the sector.
Global turbulence and economic conditions are identified as the primary barriers to growth by 45% of respondents.

Despite challenges, 68% of manufacturers anticipate an increase in sales this year.

A noteworthy 70% of businesses invested in carbon-neutral initiatives last year, reflecting a growing commitment to sustainability.

The report also highlights a reluctance among manufacturers to invest and borrow, signaling a need for increased government intervention, particularly as funding from COVID-19 loans diminishes.

The analysis underscores the impact of global factors such as geopolitical tensions, inflationary pressures, and political uncertainty on the manufacturing sector. Supply chain disruptions, exacerbated by Brexit and trade tariffs, remain a significant concern for more than half of respondents.

However, amidst these challenges, there is a prevailing sense of resilience within the sector, with 68% of respondents expecting turnover growth in the coming year. The report emphasizes the importance of strategic interventions to support manufacturing, including reshoring and nearshoring initiatives to enhance supply chain resilience and capitalize on local expertise and resources.

Looking ahead, the report highlights the need for continued investment in decarbonization and digitization. Increased government funding into new technologies is seen as essential for driving innovation and supporting the transition towards sustainable manufacturing practices.

Johnathan Dudley, Partner and Head of Manufacturing at Crowe, emphasizes the importance of targeted support for UK businesses, calling for the establishment of a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing to unlock the sector’s potential. He underscores the vital role of manufacturers in driving economic growth and job creation, advocating for a reduction in regulatory barriers to support industry expansion.

Stephen Morley, CBM President, echoes Dudley’s sentiments, stressing the need for sustained government investment and support to enable manufacturing to play a central role in driving UK economic growth.

As the manufacturing sector navigates the challenges and opportunities of 2024, the report underscores the critical role of government intervention in fostering a conducive environment for industry growth and innovation.

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