SME manufacturers call for ‘urgent’ support as job loss fears grow

SME manufacturers call for ‘urgent’ support as job loss fears grow

Figures from 600 firms across England reveals the impact of the virus on industrial confidence with almost 90 percent of respondents predicting a drastic decline in production volumes and sales over the next six months. Conducted by South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), the Manufacturing Barometer also shows that 55 percent of firms believe they will need to cut jobs between now and October.

This is despite the business grants on offer and the furloughing scheme designed to boost employee retention. 

Some 84 percent of manufacturing SMEs surveyed say they require urgent financial support to get through the current climate, with only 16 percent confident that the Government is doing enough to help the sector cope with the pandemic.

SWMAS’ Simon Howes said: “Top of the wish list for SME manufacturers is stronger financial assistance and for Government to go ‘faster and further’. While the existing package of measures has been welcomed, there remains a pressing need for a deeper level of sector-specific advice and support.

“This crisis has brought home how reliant we have become on overseas supply of strategically critical items. We must learn from this and re-establish UK production of these parts and protect SME manufacturing now, in order to ensure it is ready to spring back into action once the COVID-19 crisis is finally over.”

The latest Manufacturing Barometer, which is the largest survey of its type in England, reflects the response from UK manufacturing to support the urgent request for vital medical equipment and PPE.

Just over a fifth of firms say they have already responded to the Government’s call, with a further 13 percent willing to access advice on how to switch their production lines.

Published at Sat, 02 May 2020 09:02:00 +0000