EEF highlights manufacturing decline

The Engineering Employers’ Federation has called on the Chancellor to address the continuing decline in manufacturing investment in his pre-budget statement.

Representing 22 organisations from engineering and manufacturing industries, the EEF said in a submission to the Treasury this week that manufacturing investment fell by 15 per cent in 1999 and, if not addressed, the long term competitiveness of manufacturing in the UK will be put at risk.

It told the Treasury that despite the growth in exports, manufacturers are seeing their share of world markets decline and imports are continuing to increase, resulting in the largest trade deficit on record.

EEF Director-General Martin Temple said, "While our companies have learnt to adjust to a strong currency, this has been on the basis of cutting margins to a 25-year low. This has huge implications for our future productive performance, particularly as figures show our competitors in Europe continuing to steal the march.

"The Chancellor must use this opportunity to back his words on productivity with firm action to encourage vital investment in productive capacity."

By Lisa Bratby

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