Belfast Telegraph

EEF firms optimistic for growth

Britain's manufacturers are confident they will be able to fill the "growth gap" as the public sector contracts. The Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) says its members - 6,000 industrial companies of all sizes - are "well placed" to respond to the Prime Minister's call to "create and innovate; invest and grow".

Having endured the worst downturn in three-quarters of a century, British industry has benefited from a 25% depreciation of sterling since its peaks in 2007, and most surveys of business confidence and export orders reflect a mood of optimism.

The EEF says the "sophisticated, successful sector" is growing at the fastest rate since 1994. Its chief executive, Terry Scuoler, commented: "Whilst the current attention on young businesses and start-ups is helpful, we must not ignore the wider benefits that larger companies bring. The UK doesn't just need a handful of larger companies over the next decade; we need hundreds of them with the scale and muscle to tackle our economic challenges. Otherwise we risk placing a speed limit on our growth potential."