Anti-Brexit diehards warning that Britain is headed for economic catastrophe have been wrongfooted by survey data which shows manufacturing output at a 22-year high.
British factories are “ramping up production at their fastest pace since 1995 and manufacturers expect to accelerate at a 40-year high in the months ahead,” reports the Telegraph.
“Output growth among UK manufacturers is the highest we’ve seen since the mid-Nineties, prompting the strongest hiring spree we’ve seen in the last three years. Cost pressures are easing and firms are upbeat about the outlook for export orders,” according to Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist for the Confederation for British Industry (CBI) — a big business lobby which is part-funded by the European Commission and was staunchly loyal to it during the referendum campaign.
The news will come as an embarrassment to former prime minister and Iraq War architect Tony Blair, who has called for a second vote and insisted that it is “absolutely necessary that [Brexit] doesn’t happen because … every day is bringing us fresh evidence that it’s doing us damage economically”.
New IMF growth for 2017: UK 1.7%, > France (1.5%), Italy (1.3%), just below Germany (1.8%). Guardian: makes us "sick man of Europe". Bizarre
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) July 24, 2017
The positive output data follows figures from last month which showed manufacturing order books at their strongest since 1988, with Newton-Smith conceding that “Britain’s manufacturers are continuing to see demand for ‘Made in Britain’ goods rise … Total and export order books are at highs not seen for decades, and output growth remains robust.”
Manufacturing’s strong performance has been credited in part to the positive effect of the cheaper pound — considered the most overvalued currency in the world prior to the referendum — on exports, coupled with only modest inflation at home.
There has been much speculation that sterling’s post-referendum drop — though hailed as “desirable from every point of view” by many experts — will lead inevitably to a domestic spending crunch, this has not been the case for many popular retailers.
The John Lewis Partnership, for example, recently reported a sales jump of 8.9 per cent year on year to in the week to July 22nd, with an impressive 34.5 surge for womenswear.