UK Manufacturing Sector Survey on Brexit Impact

Accountancy network MHA has today released its latest survey into the UK manufacturing sector which revealed that 61% of businesses have changed their practices as a result of Brexit and 75% are planning to invest less or the same as planned before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, although this is a drop from 81% September 2020.

With this week’s manufacturing PMI highlighting ongoing supply chain issues for UK businesses, MHA also found the number of manufacturers not planning to change their supply chains sharply dropped from 65% in 2020 to 45% in 2021.

MHA’s The Engine research surveyed firms from the South, North West, North East and Midlands to assess the continuing impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic on operations, investment and production capacity of manufacturing businesses. Key findings include:


  • Over three quarter of respondents (75%) are planning to invest less (significantly or slightly) or the same as planned before Covid-19. However, this is a drop from 81% reported in the previous survey in September 2020
  • Social distancing has affected production capacity by ‘quite a lot’ for 18% of businesses, an increase from 9% six months ago
  • 45% reported ‘no’ changing of their supply chains; down from 65% in September 2020
  • 46% felt Government had done ‘enough’ to support their during the pandemic

North West:

  • 86% of respondents in the North West envisage business returning to pre-Covid levels within the next 12 months (compared with 36% national average)
  • However, 45% are planning to spend significantly less in the next twelve months than previously anticipated
  • Increased paperwork due to Brexit was a hindrance to most businesses (77%)


  • Half of Midlands’ manufacturing businesses believe it will take either under six months or between six and 12 months to return to pre-Covid-19 levels. This is against a national picture of 58% suggesting those operating in this region have been more hard hit by the pandemic
  • Almost half (48%) think the Government could have done more or have not felt supported during the pandemic
  • 16% of respondents also stated they will be will be investing significantly more as a result of Covid-19, compared to 12% nationally

The full report can be found in Issue 9 of MHA’s The Engine.