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Time to ditch the myth that British manufacturing is in decline

2 min read

18 June 2014

Figures released today reveal the British public's continuing scepticism about the state of our manufacturing base.

A survey by manufacturers’ organisation EEF found that three quarters of consumers wrongly believe the UK manufactures less goods than in the 1980s and only 36 per cent think the manufacturing sector is growing.

In fact the sector still represents 11 per cent of GDP, employs 2.6m people and is forecast to grow 3.6 per cent this year, leading the way for the rest of the economy.

EEF chief Terry Scuoler, said: “With the global spotlight on British manufacturing next week it is time to ditch the urban myth that Britain manufactured more in the 80s than it does today.

“The reality is that British manufacturing is a huge success story and is going from strength-to-strength, employing 2.6 million people and accounting for 11% of GDP. ‘Make it Britain’ is vibrant, vital and producing more today than it did 30 years ago.”

Despite the public’s misgivings, the research found that Brits are firmly behind manufacturers. More than three quarters (76 per cent) said they would be proud to work for a manufacturer and 72 per cent prefer to buy goods made in Britain. 91 per cent of people said the sector was vital for economic growth.

Scuoler added: “The good news is that manufacturers already have consumers’ backing, but if we arm them with the full facts about the strength, dynamism and versatility of this essential sector we will hopefully gain their pride too.

“This will encourage more young people to consider a career in our sector and make it easier to attract the talented and skilled employees needed for growth to continue at a pace.”

The findings come ahead of Manufacturing, Science and Technology Week at the International Festival for Business, which is being held in Liverpool.

Related: Top Gear is right: UK manufacturing isn’t dead