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Why Midland manufacturers are worried about a post-Brexit future

Midland firms have raised some important issues about Brexit

Subcon - the country’s premier subcontracting exhibition

Midlands manufacturing businesses have raised a raft of concerns concerning their future post-Brexit in a new survey.

Many of the findings show regional firms bucking the national trend in response to a series of questions put to 500 UK manufacturing professionals by Subcon – the country’s premier subcontracting exhibition.

The survey results are being revealed weeks before the latest Subcon exhibition takes place at the NEC – alongside Advanced Manufacturing Show and The Engineer Design & Innovation Show – from 6-8 June.

Here are some of the main findings

Business confidence

• Midlands manufacturing businesses are less confident in a future post-Brexit than those in the rest of the UK with just one third (34 per cent) believing that they face a stronger future now that Article 50 has been triggered – and Britain is almost certain to leave the European Union.

This is six per cent lower than the national average of 40 per cent.

• Yet the number of Midland businesses which believe that manufacturing as a whole will fare better due to the Brexit decision is higher – and on a par with the rest of the country – at 44 per cent.

Subcon - the country’s premier subcontracting exhibition

Workforce

• A total of 63 per cent of Midland businesses are worried that Brexit will make it more difficult for them to find skilled staff

• A similar number – 62 per cent - are convinced their business and industry will suffer if leaving the European Union impacts free movement of labour.

• These statistics are significantly higher than the rest of the UK, where fewer than half – 46 per cent – believe a hard line on immigration will impact the country’s manufacturing performance.

What the pollsters say

Gordon Kirk, Subcon event director, said: “It’s interesting to see the disparity of opinion regarding the impact of Brexit between businesses based in the Midlands compared to the rest of the country.

“The Midlands is renowned as a hub for manufacturing and is a reliable barometer for the industry’s performance – current and future.

“Of course, the UK is still two years from breaking away completely from the European Union.

“The complex process of negotiating new trade agreements has not begun and the full impact of Brexit is yet to be felt, so it will be very interesting to see how these businesses feel when we poll them again in 12 months’ time.”

How you can see the show for free

Subcon, Advanced Manufacturing Show and The Engineer Design & Innovation Show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, 6-8 June 2017. Manufacturing professionals are invited to attend for free by registering here

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