A SLUMP in the fortunes of Greater Birmingham manufacturers is countered by an upsurge in the service sector, says a new survey.
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group’s last quarterly economic survey for 2012 underlines that the Government needs to act swiftly to inject growth into the manufacturing sector.
Sales at home and abroad were marked by a decline but the service sector fought back with increased global sales and orders.
The number of manufacturers reporting increased UK sales fell from 37 per cent in the previous quarter to 33 per cent and those with fuller order books dropped from 37 per cent to 31 per cent.
Thirty-seven per cent, a fall from 45 per cent, said export sales had increased while there was a marginal drop in those reporting increased orders – 35 per cent from 36 per cent.
Steve Brittan, president of Birmingham Chamber, said: “These figures are a concern and demonstrate the Government must act.
“This is an extremely disappointing result especially when the previous quarter showed Greater Birmingham and the West Midlands outperforming the rest of the country. We will not know whether this performance has been maintained until we get the national British Chambers’ figures.
“The trading environment has become much tougher and has slowed significantly since Quarter 3. This underlines how vital it is that the government acts on Autumn Statement announcements.
“A 100 per cent tax relief on capital allowances is essential to boost manufacturing and the Government must press ahead urgently with their promised investment in infrastructure, which is vital for the construction industry.”
The most marked improvement in the quarter was among exports for the service sector, which includes financial, legal and business services, hotels, catering, transport and communication. Service firms reported sales abroad leapt to 40 per cent from 30 per cent in the previous quarter.