Calls for more help to small manufacturers

GLOOMY Jim Davison, south east region director for EEF
GLOOMY Jim Davison, south east region director for EEF
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A MANUFACTURERS’ organisation in the south east is calling on the government to give more support to the sector.

The manufacturing industry has been widely hailed as shoring up the economy, as manufacturing and engineering – especially within the hi-tech sectors such as aerospace – has grown, despite the economy and problems in Europe.

The call has been made by Jim Davison, EEF south east region director.

It came as a report yesterday revealed small and medium sized businesses are finding it increasingly hard to access bank finance.

A survey by insurance giant RSA and the Warwick Business School showed manufacturing firms faced the biggest struggle to raise money, with 15 per cent reporting difficulties.

Tara Kneafsey, a director at RSA, said small firms need confidence in order to survive,

She added: ‘Confidence is a critical factor for businesses as we approach 2012 – confidence in knowing they are protected should the unexpected happen and confidence in having access to capital to maximise growth opportunities.’

Mr Davison agreed.

He added: ‘As our biggest export market, continuing problems in Europe are certainly leading to a lack of confidence in the short term.

‘Many commentators paint a very gloomy picture and certainly, in the last three months, the region’s manufacturing output and total orders have both declined.

‘Looking forward, the increasing economic uncertainty has resulted in EEF downgrading its forecast for manufacturing growth in 2012 to just 0.9 per cent, down from its previous forecast of 2.2 per cent.

‘However, manufacturing still looks set to perform well in relation to other parts of the UK economy in 2012 and I would strongly encourage the government to increase the momentum of support for the sector to help rebalance and boost the economy.’