Brexit ‘weighing on business investment’

PA

The political uncertainty about brexit is weighing on business investment, which has fallen to the lowest level since one year, a survey indicates.

The research, the manufacturing body EEF and accountancy advisers BDO, said the outlook for UK manufacturers was “slightly more moderate than it has been for some time”.

The survey of more than 300 companies have found that they were “cautiously optimistic”.

However, the EEF said growth is looking “fragile”.

“Manufacturers are still seeing a positive image and business confidence indicators were maintained looking forward to the second half of the year,” he said.

But he stressed that “the easing of global growth” and suggested that “the continuation of the policy of the uncertainty of the “brexit” negotiations weighs on the investment.”The “Crunch time”

EEF chief economist Lee Hopley, said: “We continue to see signs of growth in the whole of the manufacturing industry and, given the weaknesses elsewhere in the economy of the united KINGDOM, it is of vital importance that we support.

“However, the sustainability of this upturn is looking a little more fragile than a lot of the positive forces driving the expansion of the last year, as a resurgence of the euro zone, a rise in the global manufacturing investment, and competition book, start to fade away.”

Ms Hopley added: “New or increased uncertainties have also come into play, not least what feels like a crucial moment in the “brexit” negotiations that have led to flashing yellow lights again on the business investment outlook.

“It is important for both the growth and productivity of our long-term prospects.”

BDO’s Tom Lawton has called on the government not to “lose sight of the needs of manufacturing, or even the economy as a whole, during the negotiations of the EU”.

He added: “I have no doubt that the UK manufacturing will continue to be successful, but the right support and business environment will make a huge difference for manufacturers.”