November 2017

# 3 Reasons why ‘Made in Britain’ matters more than ever

In a world where the manufacturing market is flooded by cheap (often imitation) goods from countries such as China, car manufacturers have become a homogenous blend due to the boardroom goings on of massive, faceless investment boards and numerous production lines have been shifted elsewhere in Europe and beyond to take advantage of lower labour costs, it is easy to come the to the conclusion that the ‘Great’ has gone from Britain and that ‘Made in Britain’ no longer matters.

In a time of great worldwide uncertainty, however, and with the challenge of Brexit looming, Made in Britain actually matters now more than ever before. We take a look at just why British manufacturers should be proud to bear the flag.

## 1. British exports are booming

According to the latest data by the Office of National Statistics$$^1$$ <, Britain’s historically buoyant export market continues to be a force to be reckoned with. Trade exports for the most recently reported period, the three months to August 2017 total a significant £2.1 billion. Whilst there was a decrease in exports to non-EU countries, there was also a significant increase in exports to EU countries, showing that the UK’s impending exit does not seem to have resulted in any damage to the reputation of Britain’s booming manufacturing sector.

Another important factor to consider for any manufacturers who do remain concerned by the potential impact of an undesirable outcome for the complex post-Brexit trade deals is that whilst the EU is a significant destination for British goods, it just one of many destinations and any potential impact on trade for the region should have a relatively mild impact on the health of the manufacturing sector as a whole. Britain certainly doesn’t have to worry about having all of it’s eggs in one basket.

For greater perspective, it is worth considering how reporting has evolved over recent decades too and the impact this may have on the overall picture. Although the contribution of manufacturing to GDP has declined on paper, many of the services provided to manufacturers which were traditionally considered part of manufacturing – such as catering; cleaning; building services, security and so on – have now been allocated into different areas of the economy.

However, those contributions are directly reliant on manufacturing for continued business and could actually be considered as a part of manufacturing’s GDP input. As such, many are calling for the true value of manufacturing to be recognised, a move which would see the widely cited figure of 10% of GVA almost doubling to 19%$$^2$$ .

## 2. UK manufacturing is big business

In recent years, there has been much talk of the decline in British manufacturing and the transformation to a service economy, as highlighted in the previous section. However, contrary to these widespread perceptions, Britain’s manufacturing sector is not just as strong as ever, it is also one of the biggest players in a sector that contributes a staggering £6.7 trillion to the world’s economy.

As a report published by The Manufacturer highlights, despite the decline since the 1970s, when manufacturing contributed 25% of UK GDP, the UK is currently the ninth largest manufacturing nation in the world.

According to EEF$$^3$$ , UK manufacturing currently:

• employs 2.7 million people
• contributes 10% of GVA
• accounts for 45% of total exports
• represents 68% of business research and development (R&D)
• provides 14% of business investment

## 3. The British steel industry remains a (work)force to be reckoned with

As a hugely important sector within the manufacturing industry, a quick glance at the figures reveals that whilst there has been a decline in the size of the sector, its contribution to the UK economy remains something that the workforce can remain proud of.

• 30,000 direct jobs
• Annually adds £9.5bn to the UK economy
• Exports worth £4.9bn in 2013
• 1m tonnes of output in 2014
• More waste steel is recovered in the UK and recycled than all other materials combined
• Each tonne of scrap recycled by the industry saves 1.9 tonnes of iron ore and 0.6 tonnes of coal

In addition, Britain continues to be highly regarded for the high standards of technical skill, workmanship and productivity in its steel industry workforce, helping it to remain a first choice for manufacturing long into the foreseeable future.

Here at Hitherbest in Telford, we truly believe that Made in Britain matters and are proud of our heritage as one of Britain’s market leaders in sheet metal fabrication. With over 35 years in the industry and an exceptional workforce, we deliver nothing but the very best in quality. Our commitment to quality and service is demonstrated by our BSI-accredited status, showing that we represent British sheet metal manufacturing at its best.