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Food sector boosts UK manufacturing industry

Food sector boosts UK manufacturing industry

The food industry has been flagged up as one of the main drivers of growth in the UK's manufacturing output.

According to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), manufacturing output in the UK went up by one per cent in February 2014.

Figures from the body also showed that production during the month was 3.8 per cent up on the amount recorded a year earlier.

Food was identified as one of the main contributors to this upturn, along with beverages, tobacco, transport equipment and pharmaceuticals.

Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, has hailed the findings.

"Output now stands at its highest level in more than two-and-a-half years, with companies reporting good trading conditions both at home and in overseas markets," she commented.

Ms Hopley stated that all manufacturing indicators are "lining up for a strong first quarter growth rate". 

This, she said, demonstrates how the industry is still a "vital cog" in the country's economic recovery.

The upturn in manufacturing output has also been welcomed by the British Chambers of Commerce, which said the figures from the ONS back up its own statistics on the state of the market.

David Kern, chief economist at the body, noted that the share of manufacturing in the British economy is "relatively modest" at the moment.

Nevertheless, he said it is still a "hugely important" contributor to its recovery. As a result, it is "pleasing that the sector is growing faster than total GDP".

Mr Kern has therefore urged policymakers to step up their efforts to ensure the recovery is more strongly focused on investment and exports.
For instance, he said the Bank of England must seek to keep inflation at a minimum and offer clarity on interest rates.

In addition, Mr Kern insisted that the government needs to keep working to ensure growing firms have sufficient access to finance.

The Federation of Small Businesses recently reported that a growing number of smaller firms are looking to export goods and services overseas over the coming months, in particular manufacturers.


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