Kays factory worker Robert Holt uses a lathe to make a curling stone in Mauchline, Scotland on January 11, 2018. – Photo Reuters

LONDON, January 10 – UK manufacturers are optimistic about the outlook for 2022 but fear further fallout from Brexit a year after the country’s departure from the European Union, according to a survey conducted today.

Industry body Make UK, representing 20,000 manufacturing companies across Britain, has revealed the results of its survey of 228 companies conducted with consultancy firm PwC.

The survey concluded that manufacturers “are more positive about the outlook for growth heading into 2022, with greater confidence in the prospects for their own businesses than global or UK economies”.

Almost three-quarters of those polled “expect manufacturing conditions to improve” this year despite the Omicron variant affecting part of production.

Two-thirds insisted Britain remained a “competitive location” for manufacturing, but the same proportion also said leaving the EU had hurt their business.

And 56% of companies believed more Brexit woes would materialize this year.

Britain officially left the EU’s single market and customs union in early 2021.

“A year after leaving the EU, two-thirds of companies said the departure had moderately or significantly hampered their operations, with more than half of companies fearing a further impact this year from customs delays due to import controls and product labeling changes, ”Faire UK said.

The manufacturing sector has also been hit by the current global supply crisis – and soaring inflation caused in large part by soaring energy costs.

“It is a testament to the strength of manufacturers that they have emerged from the turbulence of the past two years in such a relatively strong position,” added Stephen Phipson, Managing Director of Make UK.

“As the clouds remain on the horizon in the form of rapidly rising costs and access to key skills, the outlook is brighter for those who remain adaptable, agile and innovative. “

Trade has also been affected by new COVID-19 border restrictions as Britain rushes to curb the endemic variant of Omicron – but Make UK has downplayed the impact on manufacturing.

“The majority of manufacturers have weathered the storm of the past two years,” he added.

“To date, the industry appears to have experienced little or no disruption from the latest Omicron variant to alter that confidence.” – AFP