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Manufacturing News – Late April 2024

Estimated reading time 2 minutes

Sentiment within the manufacturing sector improved in April and output expectations were the strongest for six months, according to the CBI’s latest quarterly Industrial Trends Survey.

Output volumes were broadly stable in the three months to April, following strong declines in output over the first quarter of 2024. Manufacturers expect output to rise over the next three months, with expectations the strongest since October 2023. Average cost growth remained elevated compared to historical norms, with costs also expected to increase at a strong pace in the quarter to July.

Domestic and export price inflation are expected to pick up slightly in the next three months.

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The level of investment by Britain’s manufacturers could be boosted by up to £10bn if they were to take advantage of the range of public and private finance options available to them, according to a major report published today by Make UK, NatWest and Lombard.

Such a boost would raise the investment potential of the sector overall by up to a fifth and help address the UK’s long-term productivity weakness. Furthermore, the report shows that more than a quarter of companies (26%) would increase their own investment by up to a fifth if access to finance was improved, while more than one in 10 (12%) would increase their investment by up to half.

In particular, the report shows access to finance will be critical for companies’ investment plans in the next two years in capital equipment, automation, energy efficiency and cyber security. These investments are essential if the UK is not to fall behind in the race to net zero and in areas such as innovation and automation.

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Manufacturing is having a far greater impact on the UK economy than first thought according to a major new report released today.

‘The True Impact of UK Manufacturing’ shows industry is worth £518bn and supports 7.3million UK jobs directly and across the supply chains/communities it operates in.

This represents nearly a quarter of total GDP (23%) and far bigger than the direct contribution of 8.2% that is usually quoted by economists.

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