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UK manufacturing on brink of ‘industrial renaissance’

July 2014
The British manufacturing sector has strengthened its influence in Brussels now that Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of the UK manufacturers’ organization the EEF, has been appointed Chairman of the Council of European Employers of the Metal, Engineering and Technology-based Industries (CEEMET). As Chairman, Mr Scuoler will drive policies to boost manufacturing across Europe and will represent the views of over 200,000 companies, employing approximately 35 million people. His appointment will provide further momentum to the current growth of UK manufacturing, as the sector rapidly regains ground lost during the recession.
Mr Scuoler has already launched CEEMAT’s European Roadmap at a reception in Strasbourg, in which he prioritized growth and job-creation. Specific reform proposals included the need to:
  • Encourage practical policies, active leadership and cooperation among all stakeholders to ensure all EU policies that impact manufacturing are aligned to the EU’s target of raising manufacturing’s contribution to EU GDP to 20% by 2020.
  • Creating greater access to a skills-focused labour market in order to improve R&D, innovation and job-creation.
  • Improve cooperation between policymakers and industry.
“Manufacturing is critical to the future of the European economy, providing the economic growth and high-skill jobs we urgently need,” he says. “But, we cannot go on doing the same things over and over again and expect to see a different result. The recent elections have sent an uncomfortable message to European policymakers that must now be heeded as a matter of urgency.” He adds. “There is a growing consensus in favour of an industrial renaissance and increased competitiveness across Europe. I hope to support and contribute to future policies that will help deliver this vision.”

SME owners work through the night

July 2014
It probably won’t come as much of a surprise that SME owners are working long hours in order to make a success of their businesses. But research from the information portal, Check Business, highlights the extent of overtime that SME owners work. 
The study involved analysing the work patterns of over 100,000 SMEs, and while the typical nine-to-five working day is taken up with running the business, the study revealed that evenings and weekends are used for research, reflection and preparation, as well as keeping track of orders and corresponding with customers and contacts in different time zones. 
Startups, in particular, have few resources available to employ extra staff or outsource finance or IT and this means owners essentially have to don a number of caps in order to keep the business ticking over in its early stages of growth.   

Half of SMEs get off the ground in 3 months

July 2014
A recent survey by PeoplePerHour has found that nearly half (49%) of small businesses launch within 12 weeks, with 19% taking between 12 and 20 weeks, and only 7% taking longer than a year.
This quick turnaround time can partly be put down to the relatively small amounts of start-up costs of many new businesses. According to the survey, 22% of the 3,400 businesses interviewed started trading with less than a £2,000 investment. This reduces the risk for people who are switching to self-employment, with many people able to fund smaller start-up costs from personal savings. 
With the recession necessitating self-employment for those who have been made redundant, the UK is seeing an increase in entrepreneurs. And, as the economy continues to pick up, prospects should improve for many people who have started their own business – and encourage others to take the plunge. 


Banks urged to increase SME lending

June 2014
If the Treasury is successful in its plea to the big banks, SMEs could soon be offered a greater choice of finance options. The call to action coincides with the publication of a survey commissioned by the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses. The survey places banks in rank order with regards to servicing the financial needs of UK SMEs and is part of a wider initiative to support small businesses, which have helped enormously in Britain’s economic recovery.
The information will be publicly accessible, in order to allow businesses to quickly identify the best-performing banks in terms of SME support, and to make an informed decision about which bank best suits their requirements.   

Time to celebrate

June 2014
Research carried out by YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research shows there is reason for workers to feel optimistic. The last year has seen an increase in the number of pay rises and promotions, while bonuses are being paid again to many employees. There has also been an upsurge in people starting new jobs, while the numbers of redundancies has decreased.
These factors all point towards sustained economic growth, as consumer optimism rises and spending increases. SMEs have played a pivotal role in economic growth, particularly through employment, so it remains key that the government and financial institutions support small businesses so they continue to bolster the economy and contribute towards growth.