Almost three quarters (71%) of small- to medium-sized manufacturers believe their industry’s fortunes would be improved with a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing.

Research commissioned by after-market technology specialist SamsonVT surveyed 200 senior managers and decision-makers working within UK manufacturing businesses – with a maximum of 250 employees – about the current state of the industry. 

It found various challenges were impeding SME manufacturing growth.

Inflation was viewed as the biggest challenge, with almost fourth fifths (78%) listing this as a threat to their business. This was followed by the deteriorating value of the pound (40%), import and export regulations (39%) and mounting wage pressures (29%).

Currently, the responsibility for manufacturing comes under the remit of the Minister of State for Industry – a role that also covers retail, consumer goods, personal care, professional and business services, hospitality, weddings and nightclubs. The survey found just 9% thought the industry’s current plight wouldn’t be improved if there was a minister who was solely focused on manufacturing.

The survey also found that more than half (52%) of the UK’s exporting SME manufacturers believed the fluctuating value of the pound had become a significant challenge – while more than a third (38%) said the complexity of administrative processes was also creating serious difficulties.

The research showed that exports were found to be contributing almost a fifth (19%) of overall sales for UK SMEs.

“British manufacturers have been under enormous strain over the last 12 months as costs continue to rise, supply chain issues worsen and the possibility of a recession nears closer and closer,” said Sam Burgess, CEO at SamsonVT, which featured on our FactoryTech 50 ranking.

“With exports contributing almost a fifth of the industry’s revenues, the current fluctuation of the pound isn’t helping matters either.

“In light of these challenges, it is understandable that manufacturers want a minister that can both represent their interests at the highest level of government and take steps to mitigate their struggles. 

“The appointment of a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing, who can give their full attention to the plight of the industry would certainly be a step in the right direction here.”


Andrea Wilson, director at engineering company Hone-All Precision – a member of the Support UK Manufacturing initiative – has been leading a campaign calling for the appointment of a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing.

She said: “It’s no surprise that over 71% of the manufacturers surveyed support the idea of a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing, while only 9% do not. Based on the conversations and feedback I’ve received, the remaining 20% are probably not sure about supporting this proposal due to a lack of faith in the performance of our politicians.

“UK Manufacturing is a huge contributor to the UK economy and deserves a representative within senior government to ensure the needs of our businesses are heard, and then acted upon, to create a secure, stable, and successful UK supply chain for our future prosperity.”

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