March of the makers finally arrives for UK

Manufacturers kept the British economy's recent run of good news rolling today with the strongest growth for a year. The latest health check on the sector's fortunes from the EEF manufacturers' organisation said prospects – which helped drag the overall economy down 0.3 per cent in the first three months of the year – had improved over the past three months.

The survey of 366 firms showed a balance of 12 per cent of companies enjoying higher output during the past three months, the healthiest since the April-June quarter last year. The optimism fuels hopes of faster growth for the wider economy in the current quarter, although the EEF has actually lowered manufacturing estimates for the overall year due to the weaker than expected start to 2013.

The EEF's chief economist Lee Hopley said: "While the demand environment in major European markets remains weak, and some individual industrial sectors are facing their own challenges, the improvement in output and positive expectations on orders bodes well for growth going into the second half of the year."