Scottish manufacturers overwhelming want to remain in EU

The UK wide referendum on EU membership is due before the end of 2017. Pic Neil HannaThe UK wide referendum on EU membership is due before the end of 2017. Pic Neil Hanna
The UK wide referendum on EU membership is due before the end of 2017. Pic Neil Hanna
NEW figures reveal just 4 percent of Scottish maufactuers think leaving the EU would benefit British business.

The findings from the latest annual manufacturing and engineering survey conducted by Henderson Loggie, highlighted considerable support from manufacturers for the UK retaining its membership in the European Union ahead of the proposed in/out referendum.

However, 56 per cent of Scottish respondents, and 59 per cent of all UK respondents, thought that continued membership should see the terms of membership renegotiated, indicating dissatisfaction with current arrangements.

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The survey was conducted during July and was carried out in Scotland in conjunction with Bank of Scotland, and with Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking elsewhere in the UK. Over 400 companies provided information, with 48 being based in Scotland.

The Eurozone represents the most popular market (72 per cent) for those Scottish manufacturers who export, and is also number one with UK manufacturers who export at 98 per cent.

Yet, in spite of the clear desire to remain within the EU and of the Eurozone’s importance as a market, exports by Scottish manufacturers are lower than the UK average. Only 31 per of Scottish respondents said they currently export compared with 62 per cent for the UK as a whole.

Commenting on the survey findings, Henderson Loggie partner, Gavin Black, said:

“The percentage of Scottish manufacturers currently exporting is disappointing, but not totally surprising. Our survey echoes the latest findings of Scottish Engineering’s Quarterly Review to June 2015, which reports that ‘export orders in general have tumbled further into negative territory.’ It is concerning, but Scottish manufacturers are a resilient bunch.”

Other major findings from the survey were:

Increase in wage costs is the main concern (62 per cent) for Scottish manufacturers over what will drive up production costs during the next year.

Red tape is a problem for the vast majority of respondents (98 per cent) - Scottish and UK - and 70% of Scottish respondents feel it is a burden which is increasing

In terms of recruitment, the main challenge for Scottish respondents (49 per cent) [UK 54%] lies in finding experienced engineers and other skilled staff, including machinists/technicians

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60% of Scottish respondents expect to take on trainees/apprentices next year [UK 56 per cent]

Currently, 66 per cent of Scottish respondents made some investment in R&D compared to 79 per cent for the UK as a whole

32 per cent of Scottish respondents indicated they are not aware of R&D Tax Credits [UK 17 per cent]