UK Manufacturing Output Rises By 1.2%

Manufacturers Across The UK Posted Better Than Expected Results In September

07.11.2013

Manufacturing output across the UK rose by 1.2 per cent between August and September 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

One of the largest areas of growth recorded was in the pharmaceutical products and preparations sector, while the manufacture of transport equipment, computers, electronics and optical devices also boosted figures.

While preliminary gross domestic product estimates released by the ONS in late October predicted a rise of 0.5 per cent for the entire production industry for the third quarter of 2013, the latest release of information from businesses that were slower to respond to surveys shows that growth was in fact 0.6 per cent.

However, the fact that the overwhelming majority of the UK's economy is based on the service sector means this will likely not have any bearing on any future revisions of the nation's overall growth rate of 0.8 per cent.

While this growth was widely regarded as better than expected by analysts, some will be concerned about poor performance in the oil and gas sector.

A decline in extraction over the last 13 years has had a substantial negative effect on the Scottish economy and with ageing equipment, including rigs, expected to be more of a problem in the future, this could continue to drag down the UK's economy - barring an unexpected nationalist victory in the upcoming independence referendum.

This situation will not be helped by the recent dispute over the Grangemouth Oil and Gas Refinery, which was targeted for strike action by the Unite union after the alleged poor treatment of an official.

Workers were forced to make a number of pay and pension concessions after Ineos, the site's operators, threatened to close the plant unless its demands were met.

But while the oil and gas sector remains mired in problems, more traditional manufacturing industries like car making and electronics have fared well in recent quarters, adding to SMEs' stability.

Expert Opinion
This is very positive news for the sector as a whole, but is a particularly positive sign that opportunities are beginning to emerge which SMEs may be able to take advantage of.

"Several recent studies have indicated that confidence has been rising among growing businesses and that they are looking to invest, but the key issue remains that they need to ensure they have a quality support network in place so they are ready for any potential growth or expansion of operations.

"A core aspect of this is having access to specialist legal advice which ensures that companies are ready to develop and are able to meet all that is expected of them as they employ more staff or invest in their projects."
Fergal Dowling, Partner