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A vote of confidence in UK manufacturing

Published:  09 March, 2022

With news that Moderna is in discussions with the Government about investing in a multi-million Pound research and messenger RNA manufacturing facility in the UK, the outlook for UK manufacturing is looking increasingly positive, and is a significant vote of confidence in the UK.

It is also especially good news that UK SME output volumes grew at a firm pace according to the latest CBI SME trends survey. Total new orders, according to the survey, grew strongly over the quarter to January, reflecting firm ’domestic orders growth and another small rise in export orders. Although, SME manufacturers expect total new orders growth to slow over the next three months, primarily reflecting a deceleration in domestic orders growth, export orders are expected to accelerate.

The optimism of the recent CBI SME trends survey was also reflected by the extremely welcome Make UK Manufacturing Awards final in London recently which displayed the very best UK manufacturing and engineering talent and illustrated how agile, innovative, and adaptable manufacturers have become. Anyone who attended the Awards ceremony, will firmly agree that the UK is a competitive location for manufacturing with great engineering talent.

There are of course still significant obstacles to be negotiated over the coming months, not least supply challenges which are anticipated to hamper activity and likely to limit increases in output. In addition, concerns remain over the availability of skilled labour, other labour, and materials/components, as well as inflation. However, the timing of Make UK’s Awards, the first live Awards evening for over two years, amplified how far the UK has come in coping with the unprecedented disruption of the Coronavirus pandemic. These Awards, along with the welcome return of exhibitions, including the forthcoming Plant & Asset Management Exhibition and colocation of events taking place between the 5-7 April, are also a visible reminder of the hopes for the upcoming year for a far more positive outlook after the turbulence of the last couple of years.

Aaron Blutstein, Editor, Plant & Works Engineering magazine

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