COVID-19 delivers hard blow to England’s manufacturers

COVID-19 delivers hard blow to England’s manufacturers

The Manufacturing Barometer, which covers more than 330 firms across England, paints a stark picture of how the virus is already affecting industrial confidence and future predictions around safeguarding jobs. The report, carried out by the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), suggests that almost 90 per cent of firms expect sales to fall over the next six months.

More than half predict the need to cut staff, despite the Government’s furloughing scheme being introduced to boost employee retention and preserve businesses.

Confusion also reigns over the business support available. Nearly three quarters of firms questioned either think the assistance being offered is insufficient or are unsure of the help they can access.

Almost 90 percent say financial support is what is needed most, followed by overcoming supply chain disruption and detailed business advice on how to cope with the pandemic. 

Simon Howes of SWMAS, said: “Unlike many sectors, our manufacturing industry cannot be carried out remotely as it relies on physical interaction with machinery and parts. Current restrictions and lockdown measures in the UK mean capacity is reduced and this is reflected in four fifths of companies seeing a reduction in staff attendance.

“A vast majority also confirmed they will need financial assistance, yet there is a great deal of uncertainty over the eligibility criteria for business loans and how quickly these can be accessed, if at all.”

The barometer, the largest survey of its type in England, also showed that one in five manufacturers have answered the Government’s urgent call for additional NHS equipment.

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Published at Fri, 10 Apr 2020 08:57:00 +0000