‘Worrying’ slump in confidence among Scots manufacturers

Henderson Loggie said the fall in confidence was 'worrying' for the manufacturing sector. Picture: John Devlin
Henderson Loggie said the fall in confidence was 'worrying' for the manufacturing sector. Picture: John Devlin
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Confidence among Scotland’s manufacturers has shown a concerning fall from last year but there is some cause for optimism, according to new data from chartered accountant Henderson Loggie.

The firm, which has offices in Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow, found the number of firms in the sector north of the Border confident of growth in the coming year showed a year-on year drop of 14 per cent to 60 per cent.

This dip in confidence is worrying for the sector

Gavin Black

In addition, 23 per cent of respondents blamed the Brexit vote for a drop in confidence, with about a third highlighting global economic concerns as the main obstacle to growth.

Henderson Loggie partner Gavin Black said: “This dip in confidence is worrying for the sector. Across the UK, manufacturers continue to report that they find it a challenge to recruit the skilled technicians their businesses rely on for future growth.”

READ MORE: Manufacturers ride out Brexit with jump in output

Less than half of respondents expected staff numbers to increase in the next year and saw recruiting skilled staff as a key barrier to growth.

Black added: “There are, however, some green shoots of optimism with, amongst others, Michelin confirming a further £15 million investment at its Dundee operation, GSK committing a further £110m investment in manufacturing at Montrose and up to £200m of funding for job security and creation at Ross-shire Engineering.”

Dave Atkinson, head of UK manufacturing in Bank of Scotland’s commercial department, said: “While the result of the EU referendum has left Scottish manufacturers with some questions over how they will fulfil their future plans, many are actively investing in research and development to help deliver sustainable growth.

“Manufacturing has never been more important to the success and growth of the Scottish economy, and closing the skills gap remains crucial to sustain the long-term success of the industry.”

Additionally, 97 per cent received bank funding in the last year. Atkinson said: “We continue to work closely with firms through this evolving economic landscape to provide the support and funding they need to help ensure they maintain their competitive position in domestic and global marketplaces.”

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