The Engineering Employers’ Federation’s third quarter Engineering Trends painted a gloomy picture of the state of manufacturing in the UK, with output continuing the downward trend seen since the first quarter.
New orders fell to a record low balance (the difference between those reporting an increase against those recording a decrease) of -35% in the third quarter, from -15% in the previous quarter.
Export and new order intake fell in all regions, with the hardest hit exporters in Lancashire, East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside. The West Midlands and Lancashire were worst hit by declining domestic orders. Employment deterioration is most marked in the south and the midlands.
Meanwhile, UK research and development funding has been low for some time. In 1995, total UK R&D spending relative to GDP in 1995 was the second lowest among 12 of the top producers of scientific papers.
But an analysis of OECD and Institute of Scientific Information figures by government chief scientific adviser Sir Robert May puts the UK at the top of the league for numbers of papers produced per £1m spent, while Japan is last.
This is the opposite of their rankings when considering R&D as a proportion of GDP.