Local manufacturers buck 'ominous' trend

Almost 8,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in the past month, according to "worrying" research today.

Almost 8,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in the past month, according to "worrying" research today.

The British Chambers of Commerce says the figures show the "fragile" state of the sector, where employment has fallen to a record low.

Director general David Frost says that 2007 is looking "ominous" for manufacturing, adding: "There has been a relentless decline in the number of jobs which it provides in the UK economy, and this shows no sign of abating.

"Manufacturers are operating in a fragile environment.

"As well as operating within a complex and burdensome regulatory regime, UK businesses must now compete with rising interest rates, stronger sterling and low-cost imports.

"Many are struggling in the competitive global environment, with the result on local communities being the loss of jobs and financial resources in regions of the UK in which opportunities can often be hard to come by."

The chambers says the Bank of England should resist further interest rate rises.

The list of job cuts detailed in the report includes 2,300 at Peugeot in Coventry, 650 at Shorts in Belfast and 490 at Bird's Eye in Hull.

The Bank of England caused a shock last month when it raised interest rates for the third time since August.

The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) increased the cost of borrowing from 5% to 5.25%.

But figures released from the North East Chamber of Commerce recently showed the Northern region was bucking the trend with manufacturers enjoying their highest growth since the turn of the millennium.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer