Barclays backs robotics

robot android women with lightIncreasing investment into robotics to the tune of £1.2bn could bring an extra £60.5bn to the UK economy within the year, according to a recent report by Barclays bank.

The Future-proofing UK Manufacturing report alleges that investing in robots would create more jobs, as opposed to fewer, with an estimated 73,000 new roles available by 2025. The manufacturing sector would also grow to £191bn by 2025 – an increase of £38bn.

“This report highlights the importance of investing in robotics and automation for manufacturers as a potential solution to the ongoing ‘productivity puzzle” says Mike Rigby, head of manufacturing at Barclays.

“By investing an additional £1.2bn in automation technologies over the next decade, the UK manufacturing sector is forecast to create an additional £60.5bn of economic output and safeguard more than 105,800 jobs through the wider economy.”

Rigby warned, however, that in order “to reap these rewards we need to address some of the barriers to investment, including the need for more user-friendly and flexible technology, addressing skill barriers within the sector, and supporting manufacturers to access the funding and information already available to them for robotics investment.”

Peak in the construction industry strengthens the pound

The pound strengthened today following positive news on the UK construction industry hitting the sharpest rise since August 2007, according to Markits latest figures . As housing activity peaks in the UK, more jobs have been created in the construction sector, and confidence is high for a promising 2014.

The construction economy has also seen a recent rise in domestic and export orders from overseas, which shifts the reliance on UK household spending to drive growth.

At business funding, our expert advisers also provide and assist businesses seeking short term import and export finance. So if you’re a manufacturing or construction company struggling with cash flow and have an ever increasing order demand, talk to us now for more information about short term (90 day) finance options to purchase stock and materials.

Rise in new work boosts output

According to the Lloyds TSB Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index, February saw output improve across nine English regions. 

Seven regions actually recorded growth while the North East and South West saw output fall. The seasonally adjusted index of activity in England was 51.1, the fourth consecutive month the figure stayed over the no-change mark of 50 – albeit, the rise was at a slower pace than the January figure of 51.6, the four month high.

Encouraging signs arose from a rise in new orders, yet cost burdens grew in February with six of the nine regions recording bigger rises in input costs than in January. This was partly due to increasing pressure from rising fuel and utility bills. However, staffing levels remained resilient except in the South West and Yorkshire & Humber, both of which reported lower employment levels in February.

Smaller companies in upbeat mood

According to research from the British Chambers of Commerce, SMEs have begun 2013 in a relatively confident mood. Confidence in the UK economy notably improved between the 3rd and 4th quarters of last year among the 7600 companies that took part in the survey.

Manufacturers and service sector businesses were the most confident they had been since the last quarter of 2007 regarding profits in the upcoming 12 months.

The underlying message from the businesses surveyed is that they believe business conditions have improved over the last quarter of 2012 despite remaining weak by historical standards.

Business investment up in third quarter

According to official figures, investment into British businesses rose by £1.1bn in the third quarter of 2012. The ONS say total investment in seasonally adjusted terms rose 3.7% to £31.3bn when compared to the previous quarter of 2012.

Investment into non-manufacturing companies was the best performer, with growth by 4% to £28.1bn.

Investment into manufacturing businesses grew by 1.4% in their operations to £3.2bn. However, total manufacturing investment fell by £200m when compared to the third quarter of 2011.