Some 46.9 percent of the 149 companies it surveyed said business had improved, while just 15.6 percent had seen a deterioration in trade. Although business is generally improving, Make UK said 26 percent of firms believe it won’t return to pre-pandemic levels for six to 12 months, while 28.1 percent believe it will take at least a year.
The industry group said between trade picking up and Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget measures, manufacturers are becoming more confident and are planning to boost investment, at least in the short term.
More than half of companies either plan to increase investment as a direct response to Mr Sunak’s “super-deduction” tax cut or bring forward their investment plans.
However, Verity Davidge, policy director at Make UK, said: “One swallow doesn’t make a summer and, with the economy at a crossroads, there is an urgent need to consider how we make a structural change to permanently increase investment in the future.
This must be done in the round of an industrial strategy that looks beyond the horizon, plays to the UK’s undoubtable strengths in science and innovation and seeks to truly ‘build back better’.”
The growing confidence of manufacturers is echoed by research from accountancy group BDO, which said 86 percent of mid-sized businesses are planning to hire more staff in the next six months. Nearly half are planning new investments due to Mr Sunak’s super deduction tax cut.
BDO partner Ed Dwan said: “Ultimately these businesses will drive the UK’s economic recovery.”