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In 2016 the best of British manufacturing will be showcased in the searing heat of a South African desert when the Bloodhound SSC car will attempt to break the 1,000 mph mark and, with it, achieve the accolade by some margin of being the fastest vehicle on Earth. 

The car is a proud demonstration of British engineering and embodies an industry which has positioned itself at the forefront of innovation and global ambition despite the challenging economic climate.

Manufacturers continue to face what the Financial Times called a ‘perfect storm’ of macroeconomic challenges which include a stuttering recovery in Europe, less rampant growth in China and a strong pound, all of which weigh heavily on the UK manufacturer’s international competitiveness. The woes of the UK’s steel industry, in particular, have been well-documented.

Challenges to competitiveness, however, are nothing new for the sector and the reaction of the UK’s manufacturers, as in the past, has been to distance itself from the pack by developing ever-more-advanced products, aimed particularly at the automotive and aerospace sectors. Throughout the country we now have some of the most talented manufacturers in the world, producing cutting-edge products manufactured in the heart of great British cities for the global market. Bloodhound SSC is an example of exactly this dynamism, showing why British manufacturers continue to be heralded as the most able and innovative in the world.

Looking to the future, the challenge for manufacturers is to maintain and build on these advances. Manufacturing needs the support of Whitehall; the government needs to continue to invest in developing the highly-skilled workforce which fuels the sector, develop infrastructure and pass legislation that is sympathetic to enterprise and growth.

These needs were in fact clearly articulated in our recent UK Powerhouse report. This in-depth piece of research carried out together with leading think-tank, Cebr, incorporates YouGov research of 1,000 UK bosses. Within the manufacturing sector specifically, it found that 57% of companies wanted the Government to increase local transport and infrastructure investment with around 40% calling for changes to the Government’s education skills policy. A summary of the report can be found on pages 14-15 and if you would like to see a full copy, please request one at www.irwinmitchell.com/ukpowerhouse.

Our manufacturing sector experts recognise what drives manufacturing forward as a sector and our experience of working with the manufacturing sector gives us a great understanding of our manufacturing clients’ ambitions and decision-making. In this issue our Dispute Resolution team discuss how clients’ commercial considerations are taken into account when a dispute arises and other articles offer advice on a number of issues facing manufacturers including recent legislation on zero hour contracts, tax relief available on property relocation and steps to be taken when terminating a lease.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this issue or explore how Irwin Mitchell can add value to your business, please contact one of our specialists using the contact details opposite.