Manufacturing and engineering will need major support amid economic challenges

The emergence of a study commissioned by industry organisation Make UK and the Santander Banking group revealing that the British manufacturing sector may not recover until 2022 has made for sobering reading.

It’s perhaps not unsurprising that given the unprecedented government shutdown of the economy over the past few months has resulted in a situation where economic output dropped alarmingly for the first quarter of this year.

According to the Office for National Statistics, GDP fell by 2.2% between January and March, which has not been seen since in a like-for-like period since 1979, which in turn led to a significant period of recession. Economists have been quick to line up in highlighting how bleak the outlook for the next few years could be, but the UK government this week pledged to invest billions into Britain’s under-fire economy, which will hopefully include support for manufacturing segments including the Food and Drink Sector, which itself represents billions in trade both domestically and with regard to exports around the world.

However, today (1 July), marks a notable point in terms of our future relationship with Europe, in that any extension to the present stalemate of talks between the UK-EU beyond the transition period of December 2020 is now no longer legally possible.

Why is this significant? Well, if we’re to leave on a no deal basis, or “Australia terms’ as Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the potential scenario of informal agreements surrounding future trade, then our already under-fire economy is set to face an even deeper shock from the start of 2021.

There has already been a u-turn on the requirement for EU goods to face time-consuming checks at our borders during next year, so it seems there’s an acknowledgement on the part of the government that there is a large volume of work to do in securing economic recovery, as well as bringing forward key new regulations governing health and safety, and protection of food standards.

AS Confectionery Production has previously covered on a number of occasions, the food and drink sector, including those manufacturing both finished products, and on the equipment manufacturing side of the industry, have a significant part to play in our economy.

Sadly, this has not always been recognised as being the case, but now, more than ever with economies around the world facing considerable strain, support for those businesses working within our segment will be mightily welcomed, and hopefully this will happen sooner rather than later.


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