At the MACH 2018 event held at Birmingham’s NEC, David Atkinson, the UK Head of Manufacturing at Lloyds Banking Group, talked about an air of positivity and optimism surrounding manufacturing in Britain.
“Last year, the manufacturing sector outperformed the growth of the wider UK economy,” he said.
He referred to a report from the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), launched at MACH 2018, which highlights the economic impact this sector is now having.
The report’s findings contrast with what often appears as a fixed long-term view of manufacturing, that it is in terminal decline, and has been since the shockwaves of the 1970s and 1980s.
Why Manufacturing Matters
The manufacturing sector accounts for 23% of GDP in the UK and over 7.4 million jobs. These are figures from the MTA’s latest report, based on research it commissioned from leading economics consultancy Oxford Economics.
“The report looks at manufacturing’s wider economic impact, including its indirect effect on supply chains that are becoming more and more complex,” David explains. “Furthermore, it looks at the benefits to the UK economy arising from manufacturing wages.”
“What the MTA report does is place manufacturing in a wider economic context, clearly showing its influence across other sectors”
For every £1 million manufacturing directly contributes to GDP, according to the report, it generates a further £1.5 million in other areas of the economy, including jobs that are indirectly dependent on it.
Who Serves Manufacturing?
Whereas commentators have used the services sector as a stick with which to beat manufacturing, making comparisons between the two, the MTA report has a more interesting perspective.
It points out that a big part of the service sector serves manufacturing. This includes businesses like logistics and catering.
“This is a different viewpoint from the idea that weak manufacturing is holding back the economy’s growth, when in fact it adds much-needed support to key areas of economic activity,” states David.
Interviewed at MACH 2018, David Atkinson pointed out that the weaker pound was providing new international opportunities for manufacturing growth.
The MTA report reinforces this view, highlighting that 48% of UK exports are manufactured goods. However, as David also explained, growth comes with challenges.
“Manufacturers must find ways of filling gaps in productivity and capacity”
This is where MACH 2018 can prove invaluable. It gave manufacturers the opportunity to put themselves in front of potential investors. Moreover, David’s team of specialist Relationship Managers provide access to a £1.5 billion investment fund for businesses to invest in manufacturers.
The positive activity at MACH 2018, and the findings in the MTA’s True Impact of Manufacturing report point to a dynamic future…providing people are willing to take on the challenges and turn them into opportunities.
To explore your options for funding, growth, or investment please contact David Atkinson: