Subcon, the UK subcontract manufacturing supply chain show, has revealed the first wave of figures from its annual barometer of the UK manufacturing and engineering, with more than a third of respondents suspending or decreasing headcount in the wake of Brexit.
A further 32% are suspending or decreasing investment in equipment purchases, and 28% applying the same caution to research and development (R&D). 30% of respondents have put European expansion plans on hold or cut funding.
While just over half of UK businesses (55%) remain confident that they are correctly structured to handle the challenges of the UK exit from the EU, 48% admit they are not adequately funded to do so.
When it comes to the specific preparations for Brexit:
• One third of respondents have created, or are in the process of establishing partnerships with companies in Europe to facilitate continued trading
• 27% have submitted credentials for cross border certification, such as AEO
• 23% have created, or are developing subsidiaries or divisions of existing companies on the Continent
• 15% have built, or are building new premises on mainland Europe
“With more than two-thirds of our attendees and exhibitors doing business in Europe, there is no denying that Brexit will form the backdrop to most conversations at Subcon this year,” said event director Gordon Kirk.
“We even recognise this in the conference programme with Stephen Phipson, CEO of MakeUK, delivering a presentation on what the EU withdrawal is most likely to mean for the UK manufacturing supply chain. But what these figures show is that these conversations are going to be borne of the cautious, pragmatic nature that has served UK industry so well in the past.”
Subcon – the UK’s premier manufacturing supply chain show – returns 4th-6th June 2019 at the NEC, Birmingham.
Subcon research was carried out February 2019 amongst 344 respondents in the UK engineering and manufacturing community, via online survey.