Manufacturing in the Midlands, Boom or Bust?

Chris Barlow, MHA MacIntyre Hudson


Birmingham Partner Chris Barlow comments on the results of the MHA MacIntyre Hudson annual Manufacturing Survey Report.

The report, which is now in its 6th year, is sponsored by Lloyds Bank Plc, and covers a selection of topics important to the sector.

A wide range of businesses responded to the survey, with turnover ranging from £1m to in excess of £101m.

Representing sectors from aerospace, automotive, construction, electrical, electronics as well as precision engineering and tooling to name a few.

Drawing on national and regional insights, the findings identify opportunities and concerns facing UK manufacturing and engineering businesses.

Despite uncertainty over Brexit, the majority of businesses have managed to achieve growth over the past 12 months and the sector remains optimistic about the future.

Containing national snapshots covering England, Wales and Scotland. The report includes commentary from sector expert Philippa Oldham CEng MIMechE, Head of Transport and Manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, as well as insight from Sir John O’Reilly, chairman of The ERA Foundation and government adviser on manufacturing and engineering.

Some of the key findings relating to Midlands manufacturers include:
• 79% of respondents forecasting growth of up to 10%, driven by increased demand. A rise of 6% on the previous year.
• During the last 12 months 69% of businesses reported growth compared to 73% who forecast growth in last year’s survey.
• 43% believe that Brexit will have a limited impact on their business, while 15% claim that Brexit will have an extensive impact on their businesses.
• 22% of businesses have lost staff as a result of the referendum result, highlighting issues in recruiting and retaining staff. This is being put down to uncertainty with regards to EU workers rights.
• Unsurprisingly given the above, 22% of respondents put skills shortages at the top of their agenda. Most businesses want to see government action on expanding skills training for the future work-force at all levels of education, from Secondary Schools to Higher and Further Education (FE) colleges.
• 94% of respondents felt their cost of production would rise in the coming year.

What’s clear from the Report is that despite Brexit, the outlook for Midlands businesses remains positive, in terms of projected growth. The challenge they face, is much the same as last year, which is to deliver projected growth against the difficulty of recruiting, training and retaining the right staff, while dealing with the complications brought about by the uncertainty over EU workers rights.

The report and its findings can be viewed at

MHA MacIntyre Hudson, are a firm of chartered accountants, tax and business advisers, who partner with entrepreneurs and individuals interested in profitable growth.

For further information, or to discuss how we can help your business, please contact Chris Barlow, on 0121 237 0465 or email