Whilst there are encouraging signs of a return to ‘Pre- COVID’ business levels, Businesses continue to report significant issues with post Brexit paperwork.
After previously reviewing the combined impact of COVID and Brexit upon the manufacturing and engineering sectors, most recently in May, MHA returned to a short survey to track progress. Encouragingly, on reflecting on much of what we had heard and seen in terms of “pent up” demand when we asked how long it would take businesses to return to their trading level pre COVID we were told that 37% of respondents had either been unaffected or had now exceeded pre COVID business.
However, businesses do still report significant issues with post Brexit paperwork with 59% (compared to 54% in the previous report) saying that changes in business practices had followed Brexit. There has also been an increase in friction or obstacles as a result of Brexit with the EU or Northern Ireland with those affected now 43% compared to 37% in the previous report, although this means that 57% remain unaffected.
View from the Midlands
We concluded, in our previous report, that businesses in the Midlands area had been hit harder than those nationally by the effects of COVID and then Brexit and they felt that Government support had not necessarily reached the “right areas” but now they are now experiencing a similar return of demand and sales and an overwhelming majority report that Government has either done enough to support them during those challenging times. As we have seen nationally challenges have been renewed in terms of supply chain issues and more recently increases in prices of both raw materials and energy and these have been more marked within the Midlands area reflecting the nature of the business which operate here. We will watch with interest as to how this plays out locally and whether Government will need to become further involved to stop a promising recovery being threatened by supply chain challenges.
“Richard Powell, Partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson commented “Clearly the twin shocks of Brexit and Covid are still being felt by the manufacturing and engineering sectors, no more so than in our region. However, whilst the supply side remains a challenge it is encouraging to see businesses reporting that demand remains strong. This underlines the resilience of the sector in our region which I am sure will continue to see growth next year.”
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Our full National review, can be accessed via MHA’s website: https://www.macintyrehudson.co.uk/publications/article/the-engine-issue-10