Manufacturing will not recover its pre-coronavirus growth until 2022, a new report predicts.
The impact on the sector of the crisis cost the economy a potential £35.7 billion this year alone, said manufacturing group Make UK and Santander bank.
Firms responded to the pandemic by switching production to personal protective equipment (PPE), face masks and social distancing signage for customers across Europe, said the report.
Our manufacturers are the beating heart of the UK economy.Paul Brooks
Make UK chief executive Stephen Phipson said: “History has shown us that a strong industrial base provides the foundations needed to create a prosperous society.
“However, the UK has unfortunately become culturally tone deaf to the idea that manufacturing matters and can provide solutions to the challenges that we face, something the sector has amply shown during this crisis.
“A new digital, greener and more sustainable economy will emerge from this with an opportunity to catapult manufacturing, science and engineering once again to centre stage in the UK.”
Paul Brooks, of Santander, added: “Our manufacturers are the beating heart of the UK economy, and although sobering, this detailed analysis is vital to understand how businesses can rebuild as restrictions are eased.
“While Covid-19 presents the most testing time for manufacturers at both ends of the supply chain, their aptitude to handle shock and change for the better is enduring, and we stand ready to support them.”
A Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy spokesman said: “The Government has put together a far-reaching package of financial support for businesses across all sectors, including supporting over £1.7 billion worth of loans aimed at large businesses in sectors including manufacturing.
“We understand the challenges facing manufacturers and are working closely with the industry to provide the support needed.”