Manufacturing ‘vital’ for West Midlands as industry recovers from Covid
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Manufacturing remains “vital” to the success of the West Midlands, with the sector accounting for 15% of the region’s economy, well above the national average of 10%, according to a report released today.
According to the report from Make UK, the organization of manufacturers, and accounting and business advisory firm BDO, like all parts of the UK, the West Midlands have been hit hard by Covid, especially the immediate impact on the automotive sector and its supply chain.
However, since the second half of last year, and especially the start of this year when auto production has grown at a steady pace, the region has experienced significant growth.
Over the past year, the West Midlands have been the UK’s top performing area in terms of production.
The three largest sub-sectors account for nearly two-thirds of regional manufacturing output, with transport equipment, mainly automotive, accounting for over one-third (35.2%) of all regional manufacturing output. Next come metal products at 14.9%, followed by the machinery equipment subsector at 11%.
The West Midlands remain a major exporter and account for 8% of the UK’s total manufacturing exports. Exports to the EU represent 46% of the regional total. That number has increased slightly over the past year, but it is still below the national average of 48%. Then come North America with almost a quarter (24%) of the exports of the West Midlands and Asia and Oceania which represent 17%.
Charlotte Horobin, Regional Director of Make UK in the West Midlands, said: “The report shows that industry continues to have a central role to play in the success of the West Midlands economy. There are well-documented challenges for the future, including the major impact of Covid and the global economic downturn, the results of which are expected to be felt for some time to come.
“However, the region has clearly weathered the storm and, given the innovation we have seen over the past year, as well as the acceleration of new technologies, there are very positive signs for success. future.”
Jon Gilpin, Head of Manufacturing at BDO in the Midlands, added: “The West Midlands have a rich and diverse manufacturing base steeped in history. The sector is a major contributor to our local economy, employing nearly 300,000 people and accounting for over 15% of the region’s economy as a whole.
“Companies have been forced to put the brakes on their investment plans and overhaul their supply chains during the pandemic. Coupled with the trade frictions due to Brexit, the year has been difficult for the sector.
“It is essential that the government address critical issues such as customs procedures to avoid adding more levels of complexity and allowing local manufacturers to build back stronger and better as we move into the second half of the year. “