Industry optimism 'at lowest point in 12 years'

Optimism among UK manufacturing firms is at its lowest point in 12 years amid falling orders and job cuts, according to a new report.

Optimism among UK manufacturing firms is at its lowest point in 12 years amid falling orders and job cuts, according to a new report.

Research among 4,000 firms by BDO Stoy Hayward showed that manufacturing was being "hit hard" by a lack of funding, cuts in investment and lower consumer spending.

Tom Lawton of BDO Stoy Hayward said: "For many months now most manufacturers have seen a consistent fall in new orders and have been either reducing working hours or staffing to try and keep their heads above water. With order books continuing to diminish, the future looks as if it will bring little respite.

"The credit crunch started as a financial crisis that has rapidly expanded to the real economy. Manufacturing is being hit hard due to lack of funding, high capital requirements, slashing of investment budgets and consumer spending on durable goods. This has led to a startling de-globalisation of product markets and collapse in world trade - and the spectre of protectionism."

The report added that manufacturing output had fallen for 10 successive months across the UK.

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