SOUTH WEST MANUFACTURERS NEED URGENT FINANCIAL SUPPORT AMID CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
SME manufacturers are calling for greater and faster financial support from the Government as they confront plummeting sales, profits, and production volumes amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest South West Manufacturing Barometer survey was open for responses between 25th March - 17th April, and the results reveal a stark picture of how the virus is affecting industrial confidence and future predictions around safeguarding jobs across the region.
8 out of 10 respondents have already experienced a fall in production volumes since COVID-19 forced the UK into lockdown. Meanwhile, more than half – 54 percent – of manufacturing firms in the South West believe they will need to cut jobs between now and October, despite the rollout of the Government’s business support package which includes access to grants and a furloughing scheme to boost employee retention.
Almost half of the firms who responded (49 percent) are expecting to reduce investments in plant and machinery over the next six months, whereas in January before the impact of COVID-19 hit the UK, only 10 percent were planning to lower their spending in these areas. In fact, over half (54 percent) were planning future investments at the beginning of 2020, which indicates that this global health and economic crisis is causing a lack of confidence across the SME manufacturing sector.
80 percent of the regional firms who responded told us that financial support is what they need most to survive the current climate, with only 19 per cent believing that the Government is doing enough to help the sector cope with the pandemic. 17 percent of respondents also highlight the urgent need for both supply chain support and help with HR issues, risk management, and strategic planning.
On a positive note...
Just over a fifth – 22 percent – of South West- based companies surveyed have already responded to the Government’s call, with a further 7 percent looking for advice to switch their production lines so they can get involved. Meanwhile, a number of survey respondents in the region say they are adapting their processes and products in order to navigate their way through the crisis.
Read the full report below: