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East Anglia manufacturer’s outstrip UK regions with strong output growth

PUBLISHED: 10:21 09 June 2014 | UPDATED: 10:21 09 June 2014

Apprentice in Manufacturing. Picture: PA.

Apprentice in Manufacturing. Picture: PA.

Signs of mounting business confidence across the region have been underscored today by growing positivity within East Anglia’s manufacturing sector after it outstripped the rest of the country by nearly doubling its output in the second quarter.

The region’s output raced ahead from 35pc in Q1 to 62pc in Q2 – the highest figure in all of the UK regions – while cashflow also surged from 10pc to 54pc over the same period, according to the Manufacturing Outlook survey by EEF.

The east was also second in the UK to the North West on its investment plans, with the number of manufacturer’s planning to invest in the year ahead making a significant jump from 5pc in Q1 to 33pc in Q2.

It comes as the region mirrored the national picture as manufacturing firms have increased their growth forecast amid plans to recruit more staff and boost investment.

After surveying 275 companies, the manufacturers’ organisation EEF increased its growth forecast for the year from 2.7pc to 3.6pc, although it sounded a note of caution on exports because of weaker-than-expected growth in the eurozone and the United States.

Jim Davison, EEF East of England Region Director, said: “There is a palpable sense of mounting confidence amongst manufacturers here in the East and this set of results tells us that it is fully justified. The continuing trend for strong positives is a further boost for businesses emerging from the shadow of the recession and a further boost to the local economy and the job market. Manufacturers in this region will also have an important role to play in helping to sustain broad based growth across the UK.”

Keith Ferguson, partner at BDO LLP in East Anglia, which helped with the study, said: “Government manufacturing policy is clearly paying dividends and is creating an environment in which East Anglian manufacturers are comfortable enough to commit to future investment, both in terms of employment and capital. This is a very positive indicator for the rest of the year. What is now needed is for this success to be replicated abroad. We would encourage the Government to introduce more supportive measures for exports, especially given the tentative nature of economic recovery in Europe.”

• Do you have a business story for the Eastern Daily Press? Contact business writer Ben Woods on 01603 772426 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk

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