● 71% say they want a minister that is fully focused on manufacturing
● 78% say inflation is the industry’s top current challenge
Almost three quarters (71%) of small to medium-sized manufacturers believe their industry’s fortunes would be improved with a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing, according to research commissioned by after-market technology specialist SamsonVT.
The company surveyed 200 senior managers and decision-makers working within UK manufacturing businesses (up to 250 employees) about the current state of the industry. It found various challenges were impeding SME manufacturing growth.
Inflation was viewed the biggest challenge, with almost fourth fifths (78%) listing this as a threat to their business. This was followed by the deteriorating value of the pound (40%), import and export regulations (39%) and mounting wage pressures (29%).
Currently, the responsibility for manufacturing comes under the remit of the Minister of State for Industry – a role that also covers retail, consumer goods, personal care, professional and business services, hospitality, weddings and nightclubs. The survey found just 9% thought the industry’s current plight wouldn’t be improved if there was a minister who was solely focused on manufacturing.
The survey also found that more than half (52%) of the UK’s exporting SME manufacturers believed the fluctuating value of the pound had become a significant challenge – while more than a third (38%) said the complexity of administrative processes was also creating serious difficulties. The research showed that exports were found to be contributing almost a fifth (19%) of overall sales for UK SMEs.
Sam Burgess, CEO at SamsonVT adds: “British manufacturers have been under enormous strain over the last 12 months as costs continue to rise, supply chain issues worsen and the possibility of a recession nears closer and closer. With exports contributing almost a fifth of the industry’s revenues, the current fluctuation of the pound isn’t helping matters either.
“In light of these challenges, it is understandable that manufacturers want a minister that can both represent their interests at the highest level of government and take steps to mitigate their struggles. The appointment of a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing, who can give their full attention to the plight of the industry would certainly be a step in the right direction here.”
Andrea Wilson, Director at engineering company Hone-All Precision (a member of the Support UK Manufacturing initiative), has been leading a campaign calling for the appointment of a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing.
She said: “It’s no surprise that over 71% of the manufacturers surveyed support the idea of a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing, while only 9% do not. Based on the conversations and feedback I’ve received, the remaining 20% are probably not sure about supporting this proposal due to a lack of faith in the performance of our politicians.
“UK Manufacturing is a huge contributor to the UK economy and deserves a representative within Senior Government to ensure the needs of our businesses are heard, and then acted upon, to create a secure, stable, and successful UK supply chain for our future prosperity.”