South ‘falls behind on manufacturing’

OPTIMISTIC Jim Davison from manufacturers' organisation the EEF
OPTIMISTIC Jim Davison from manufacturers' organisation the EEF
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MANUFACTURING in Portsmouth and the south east is falling behind the rest of the nation, according to a report.

The Red Flag Alert research, carried out by Begbies Traynor in Portsmouth, has shown that in the first quarter of the year, fewer manufacturing companies nationally found themselves ‘in distress’.

Locally, however, those figures increased. Portsmouth had 425 firms with significant problems in the first quarter of the year, up 24 per cent year on year and up 40 per cent compared to the final three months of 2011.

The south east as a whole had 39,359 significant problems in the same period, 17 per cent down year on year but 57 per cent up compared to the final three months of 2011.

Portsmouth had eight critical problems in the first quarter of this year, down 33 per cent from a year ago and up 14 per cent from the last three months of last year.

The south east saw 1,507 critical problems in the same period, up 34 per cent on a year ago and up 21 per cent compared to the end of 2011.

But EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, says the south east is soon likely to overtake the north west as the biggest manufacturing region.

Jim Davison, south east region director, said: ‘Survey snapshots can be volatile and there may be short-term factors at play such as the problems in the Eurozone or cutbacks on defence spending in which Portsmouth has a keen interest.

‘However, the underlying picture is one of strength and a growing importance for manufacturing to the area and the wider south east.’