The Impact of Brexit on manufacturing in the UK

Adam Dolman

The impact of Brexit on manufacturing in the UK

The B-word.

Sick of it as I know we all are, we must face the fact that there has been a profound and continuing impact on British manufacturing. What may surprise you is that it has not all been bad! What’s less certain is what the impact may be in the future.

In the year following our decision in June 2016 as a country to leave the bloc, sterling plummeted in value to record lows… Sounds depressing, right? However, a ray of sunshine for British manufacturers were record levels of export goods for British businesses! ( Suddenly we were able to compete on a global level, and our manufacturers thrived off the back of that! Our buying power diminished, but businesses that export experienced record growth, a remarkable achievement during a difficult time for Britain.

Adaptability and the knack of taking opportunities has always been a pillar of British business and the years following 2016 were no different. Despite the challenges of a struggling currency, a divided political landscape and the ever-changing face of British leadership (who is the Prime Minister right now?!) we continued to grow as an economy- consistently out-performing our biggest European counterparts in Germany and France ( There are some superstars in the EU economic bloc that need to be celebrated, we could certainly learn from the likes of Poland, Ireland and Romania amongst others.(

There are some serious challenges ahead, with an uncertain outlook prompting businesses to delay decisions on investment in people and capital equipment. However, one thing is certain- we can only control how we conduct our business so to face these challenges we need to stop watching youtube videos of “ORDER!”- let them (try) and get on with their jobs, and meanwhile we need to get on with ours. ( With so much currently outside of our control, we cannot let productivity hamper us during this difficult transition! Speaking as someone who took the plunge and set up a business supplying manufacturers in 2017 whilst my family and friends told me to wait and see what happened, we must have the confidence to invest in our people and our systems. We must nurture domestic talent and use carefully picked suppliers to help us fill our skills gaps (us included!)

The reality is no one knows exactly what will happen come October 31st.

I suspect that it will be neither as gloomy, nor as revolutionary as either extreme will tell you. The reality is, we need to continue to push forward as a country and a global economy. No matter what side of the debate you fall on we must face the situation in front of us and do our very best to make sure we continue to grow, continue to thrive and come out of the other side a stronger, united country and economy.