MANUFACTURERS can play a vital role in leading the region to economic recovery, according to a leading business advisor.
After figures revealed UK manufacturing output hit a 16-year high in December, Andrew Norman, (right), partner, at Blackpool-based Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, said he believes Lancashire’s economy can benefit from its larger than average manufacturing base, but also sounded a note of caution.
The UK’s manufacturing sector has been buoyed by growth in export markets thanks to the weak pound. Mr Norman said: “While manufacturing alone will not offset job losses in the public sector, these latest figures suggest that it can at least play a role in the recovery.
“This region has a much larger manufacturing base than other areas of the UK, so any increase in output has to be positive news.”
David Haythornthwaite, chairman and founder of Lytham-based Tangerine Group the company, said: “We’re investing in our workforce and also making capital investments in new manufacturing equipment as a result of growth in our export markets. We have taken on an additional 20 people over the last 12 months, which is around a 20 per cent increase in our workforce.
“We have seen this increase simply because we are making quality products and we have great focus as a business on what we do. Export markets account for about 22 per cent of our business, but we are looking to up this to 38 per cent by 2015.”
Blackpool-based Booth Dispensers has also seen an increase in turnover and staff numbers as the economy recovers.
The Moor Park Avenue company manufactures chilling and vending machine equipment and has taken on an additional 30 staff while seeing turnover grow 30 per cent in the last year.
Phil Elliott, managing director, said: “We’re still not trading at pre-2008 levels but there has been a significant recovery and we expect that recovery to continue. We buy most of our materials in Euros and Dollars, so we haven’t seen the same currency benefits as some other firms, but we have increased sales.”