Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

UK factories fear shortage of materials and workers as COVID and Brexit hit

Economic IndicatorsJan 21, 2021 13:50
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wellingborough 2/2

By David Milliken and William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) - British manufacturers' concerns about shortages of low-wage workers and supplies have risen the most in almost 50 years, a survey showed on Thursday, as they wrestle with COVID-19 disruptions and new customs rules after leaving the European Union.

A measure of how manufacturers feel about their competitiveness relative to EU rivals deteriorated at the fastest pace on record, meanwhile, and companies expected output and orders to decline, the Confederation of British Industry said of its survey results.

"Manufacturers across the board are continuing to battle major headwinds," CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said.

A monthly index of new orders for January dropped to -38 from -25 in December, and a quarterly measure of optimism sank to -22 from zero in October.

However, export orders bucked the broader trend, with this balance rising to its least negative since March, though it was still below its long-run average.

"(This) suggests that EU firms are not hesitating to source goods from the UK, despite the extra red tape and rise in haulage costs," Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics said.

The survey adds to signs that Britain's economy will contract in early 2021, hit by a surge in coronavirus cases and restrictions, and new bureaucracy for trade with the EU.

Manufacturing accounts for about 10% of Britain's economy.

The much bigger services sector has been hit far harder by social-distancing measures and is also facing new barriers to trade with the EU.

Separately, a new experimental measure of consumer spending indicated that credit and debit card spending in early January slumped to 35% below its level last February, before the pandemic.

The figures - published by the Office for National Statistics using Bank of England data - are not seasonally adjusted, so part of the fall probably reflects a normal drop in spending after Christmas, on top of the impact of new COVID restrictions which closed non-essential retailers this month.

The CBI figures showed many manufacturers reported a rush to build up stocks and complete EU orders in December, before the new customs rules took effect on Jan. 1.

British goods are not subject to tariffs or quotas as they enter the EU, but do face significant new paperwork, adding to costs and delays.

Concern about shortages of materials and components rose by the most since January 1975, which the CBI linked to COVID disruption to international trade and Brexit-linked customs delays.

Concerns about a lack of unskilled workers rose by the most since April 1974. New immigration rules since Jan. 1 limit employers' ability to hire low-paid workers from the EU, at a time when COVID has led to increased staff absence.

UK factories fear shortage of materials and workers as COVID and Brexit hit
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Chris Hm
Chris Hm Jan 21, 2021 14:14
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
...and the Strategic response by the CBI was to........what exactly ?. All I have read in various places, their reponse reminds me of Dad's army.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email