A third of UK manufacturing companies predict a challenging 2021 due to COVID and Brexit, finds poll

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26th February 2021 14:56 - Industrial

A third of UK manufacturing companies predict a challenging 2021 due to COVID and Brexit: A survey of UK manufacturing companies, aiming to uncover projections of the manufacturing industry in 2021, has found a third of businesses predict a difficult year for investments in the UK after Coronavirus and Brexit have obstructed trading.

The research also showed that 18% of companies think investments might improve over 2021. Many UK businesses have invested in digital technologies, new products and training in order to become more agile and attractive to possible investors, found the survey.

The study by Make UK found that 47% of UK companies polled predicted customs delays would be the biggest risk to manufacturing businesses, with Covid-19 lockdowns being second highest at 46%. A further 39% stated that increases to costs of regulations would provide significant threat and 14% said a relocation of a major customs out of the UK would have significant implications.

The poll also showed concerns regarding the UK’s ability to attract talent from abroad with just over one in 10 believing it would increase; on the other hand, a third stated the UK would be a less attractive prospect outside of the EU.

Just over a quarter of respondents (26%) said that they believed exports to the EU would fall, in contrast to the 16% that think they will increase. In addition, the survey shows that around one in four companies are looking to re-shore oversees activities.

There are also growing concerns among smaller manufacturing companies still feeling the implications of various Covid-19 lockdowns and half those polled (50%) report new issues regarding Brexit. More than three-quarters (77%) said they expect that finding talent within the industry will remain difficult.

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