We often hear the complaint that ‘Britain doesn’t make anything anymore’ and that we’ve become an economy based on services and tourism. Although it’s often said, that doesn’t mean it’s true.
In fact, the British manufacturing sector is growing and investing and doing its bit for the economy. Figures from the manufacturer’s association MakeUK reveal that manufacturing in the UK employs more than 2.7 million people and that their salaries are on average 13 percent higher than those in the wider economy.
In total, manufacturing creates over £190 billion of output and accounts for exports worth over £270 billion to the economy of the UK. It also accounts for 66 percent of national R&D spend.
To put these figures into some perspective, the UK is the ninth largest manufacturing economy globally. That’s not bad for a country that ‘doesn’t make anything’. It’s even more remarkable when you think that in terms of its population, the UK isn’t even in the top 20 countries in the world.
UK-manufactured products like metal bonding adhesives are sold around the world. Our biggest single market is the United States – even though we don’t currently have a formal trade deal – with around £118 billion worth of products sold there each year.
For firms that like CT1 manufacture metal bonding adhesives, other markets are taking on more importance, too. China, for example, accounted for over £23 billion of manufactured goods sales in 2018.
EU countries account for a large slice of trade in manufactured goods, and any post-Brexit trade arrangements need to recognize the importance of this to both sides, allowing exports and imports to flow as smoothly as possible.
While the finance and banking sector tends to be concentrated in the South East, the manufacturing sector tends to be spread more evenly across the country. This is historical; even though employment patterns have changed since the Industrial Revolution created the first ‘northern powerhouse’, many manufacturing jobs are still concentrated in the North and Midlands.
The Midlands, for example, has over 600,000 manufacturing jobs, while there are 350,000 in the North West and over 300,000 in the Yorkshire and Humberside region. In Scotland, manufacturing accounts for 11 percent of economic output, with similar levels in Wales and Northern Ireland.