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UK manufacturing hits 29-year record high post-Brexit


By Vivian Hendriksz

23 Jun 2017

London - While the country remains torn on Theresa May's plans for a hard Brexit, one silver lining to the outcome of the national referendum can be seen in the demand for local manufacturing. Manufacturers across the UK are reporting their strongest performance in 29 years following the Brexit vote one year ago, according to the latest data from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The CBI monthly survey of 464 local manufacturers found that total order books increased to the highest levels since autumn 1988, whereas export orders improved to reach a 22 year high. This increase in orders from abroad has been linked to the devaluation of the pound, which has made goods in the UK more affordable for those buying aboard.

Demand for UK manufacturing continues to grow Post-Brexit

"Britain’s manufacturers are continuing to see demand for 'Made in Britain' goods rise with the temperature. Total and export order books are at highs not seen for decades, and output growth remains robust," said Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist. Although figures for UK manufacturing did suggest a slowdown in growth at the start of this year, this is likely to be short-lived judging by the latest results, noted the CBI.

"Nevertheless, with cost pressures remaining elevated it’s no surprise to see that manufacturers continue to have high expectations for the prices they plan to charge," added Newton-Smith. "To build the right future for Britain’s economy, manufacturers and workers, the Government must put the economy first as it negotiates the country’s departure from the EU. This approach will deliver a deal that supports growth and raises living standards across the UK."

Although the exact numbers for apparel and accessories manufacturing were not detailed in the report, the increase in local manufacturing has remained relatively consistent across all manufacturing sectors in the UK. 13 of the 17 manufacturing sub-sectors reported a "broad-based" improvement, which indicates wider demand for British made goods. The increase in UK fashion manufacturing is further supported by the surge of interest reported at the latest Meet the Manufacturer event in London. Organized by Make it British, the two-day event which took place earlier this month attracted double a number of international visitors than the previous year.

"When we launched in 2014 we could never have guessed that thousands of people from all over the country, as well as visitors from as far away as America and Japan, would come to a small venue in east London," said Kate Hills, founder, and CEO of Make it British. "This is a clear indication of the rising demand for UK manufacturing and British-made brands."

Photos: Keith Hanshaw, The Leather Satchel Co.