Britain faces manufacturing blight 'to match 1980s'

New research suggests that 90,000 UK manufacturing jobs will be lost next year

A study for the Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) suggests that tens of thousands of industry jobs are set to be axed in Britain, and trading conditions will be among the toughest for 20 years.

The EEF warned that 90,000 manufacturing jobs will be lost next year and it was hard to see how the UK could start to emerge from recession next summer, which official forecasts have suggested.

Its survey of more than 800 firms highlighted that the sector was now going through a "significant and sustained downturn".

The worst affected region is the West Midlands, although the pace of job losses has accelerated across the UK in recent months, the EEF said.

EEF chief economist Steve Radley said manufacturing was now heading for a recession as deep as the downturn in the early 1990s when an estimated 400,000 jobs were axed.

He called on the government to take urgent action "in days and weeks rather than months" to improve the cashflow to firms after revealing that banks had withdrawn overdraft facilities or made other changes "overnight" which were causing huge problems to industry.

The EEF also called on the Bank of England to cut interest rates by a further 1 per cent this week.

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