Manufacturers to ‘accelerate through gears’


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The Independent Online

Britain’s manufacturers have enjoyed the strongest growth for three years in the quarter to August and are ready to “accelerate through the gears” in 2014, new figures have shown.

The latest snapshot of the sector’s fortunes from the EEF manufacturers’ organisation and accountants BDO showed a surge in domestic demand leading the revival alongside rising export orders.

Investment intentions – particularly among smaller businesses – have also hit a six-year high according to the survey of nearly 300 firms in a further sign the UK recovery is gathering pace.

Chief economist Lee Hopley said: “Industry’s prospects have brightened considerably in the past few months and it’s particularly positive that this improving trend can be seen across all manufacturing sectors.

“There is growing confidence that improving trading conditions will continue into the final months of this year and then accelerate through the gears in 2014.”

The buoyant economic data for manufacturing in recent weeks also prompted the EEF to upgrade forecasts for 2013 and 2014, boosting Chancellor George Osborne’s call for a “march of the makers”.

The UK is poised to expand by 1.2 per cent this year while manufacturing shrinks by 0.5 per cent. But next year manufacturing growth of 2.1 per cent is now set to outstrip the 2 per cent growth for the wider economy, the industry body forecasts.