The UK’s SME manufacturers say they are bouncing back from Covid-19, according to the largest survey of SME manufacturing businesses in England.

The Manufacturing Barometer, which released surveys of the sector several times per year, last released survey results in April, showing plummeting sales and production volumes, along with predicted job cuts throughout the manufacturing sector.

However, three months on, manufacturers report more optimism.

According to the report, 40% of SME manufacturers expect future sales to increase – a significant increase from the 9% who expected this in April.

Over a third (39%) of businesses described their current status as “static” or “growing”, with some experiencing an increase in product demand since April.

However, another 59% of respondents described their current status as “surviving” or “recovering”.

In April, just 16% of respondents said that they felt the government’s support for businesses was sufficient. The latest survey showed that 16% of businesses have taken steps beyond the support offered by the government to protect their cash flow, while 29% identified a need for more financial help from the government going forward.

Nick Golding, Managing Director at SWMAS, which conducted the survey, commented, “The latest Manufacturing Barometer shows that over 75 per cent of businesses have had their sales significantly impacted, and only a small number have been able to access government support schemes to help them survive.

“The survey shows a picture of resilience and innovation from a sector that is doing its best to survive the Covid-19 crisis, but more still needs to be done to get it back on its feet.”

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