Global gloom casts cloud over UK manufacturers

Lee Hopley said that the downbeat mood was spreading. Picture: Contributed
Lee Hopley said that the downbeat mood was spreading. Picture: Contributed
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UK manufacturing firms are having a difficult end to the year amid “gathering gloom” from the global economy, a report published today indicates.

The study by the EEF shows that the industry has taken a step back in 2015, with concerns about weakening demand for goods from developed and emerging markets.

The manufacturers’ group said exports had deteriorated and job prospects had been hit, especially by the build-up of spare capacity in the oil and gas industry. Recent job losses in steel companies had affected prospects for the metals sector.

The EEF has revised down its forecasts for manufacturing, expecting a 0.1 per cent fall in 2015, recovering to 
0.8 per cent growth next year.

Its chief economist, Lee Hopley, said: “The prospect of manufacturing contributing to growth in the UK ­economy this year has all but faded away with another disappointing set of indicators from our survey. The downbeat mood may not be universal across all industry sectors, but it certainly seems to be spreading as the challenges have mounted through this year.”

A spokesman for the Business Department of the UK government said: “The difficult conditions in the global economy affecting manufacturers and others makes it more important than ever that we stick to our long-term economic plan for sustainable growth. This include boosting skills.”