Mersey and NW manufacturers ‘the most productive in the UK’

A new report from Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation, and accountancy firm BDO, reveals the regional manufacturing sector was worth £28.5bn over the past 12 months. Tony McDonough reports


Manufacturers in Merseyside and the North West are the most productive in the UK, new figures reveal.

A new report from Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation, and accountancy firm BDO,  reveals that North West manufacturers have remained in a healthy position despite the global downturn and uncertain political environment.

Over the past year the sector has been worth £28.5bn with output and order balances above the UK average. In line with the national picture, however, employment and investment balances have eased as conditions have become more difficult.

The pharmaceutical and chemicals sectors are significant contributors to North West industry, accounting for almost a third of regional output. Pharmaceuticals in particular is an especially strong performer and has led to the North West being the UK’s most productive industrial region at 114.55 of the national average.

Other transport, especially aerospace, has also been a strong performer for the North West on the back of strong order books and a seemingly insatiable demand for air travel. It now accounts for almost 17% of North West output. 

The North West also continues to be a strong export performer, accounting for almost 8.2%% of total UK manufacturing exports. The EU is now the region’s main export destination (51.3%) followed by Asia and North America.

The last 12 months has seen a notable expansion in exports to the Middle East and North Africa which now account for almost 10% of North West exports.

Graham Ellis, head of manufacturing at BDO in the North West said: “Whilst the growth of manufacturing in the North West gives reason to be optimistic, the survey demonstrates the disproportionate impact a no-deal Brexit could have on the UK regions where the majority of trade is within the EU. 

“With over half of exports from the North West going to these markets, there is a risk that future growth will slow significantly. Companies are already holding back on investment as a result of the prolonged period of Brexit instability and risk lagging behind their global competitors when it comes to the uptake of industry 4.0 processes and technology.

“It will be difficult for many manufacturers to regain lost ground in these areas particularly as digital transformation picks up pace.”

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