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Custom Fittings News & Blog

  • Trade Deal ‘Essential’ for UK Car Manufacturing

    26 Jul 2017

    Britain must ‘rush’ towards a trade agreement similar to the one being hammered out between Europe and Japan or face having the immensely lucrative £72bn a year car industry dismantled, a major trade lawyer has warned.

    The statement comes from Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, a former diplomat who has represented the EU at the World Trade Organisation, and is the co-author of the sustainability impact assessment on the EU-Japan deal.

    That deal will give Japanese companies tariff-free access to European markets, whilst Europe’s farmers will gain access to the Japanese market. It’s been called the “cheese for cars” deal, and will ensure that Japanese car companies will enjoy a significant boost to European trade.

    The EU-Japan deal could be agreed in just 6 months, and come into force before the UK leaves the EU in 2019. Once in place, it could make Japan’s UK manufacturing plants less competitive than other factories in Europe.

    “In the case of a hard Brexit, there could be a tariff between the UK and the single market, whereas there will be none between Japan and the EU,” said Mr Lee-Makiyama.

    “That has considerable consequences for the car plants at Sunderland and Swindon, because if you look at the supply chains of those plants they source a lot of parts from the single market, as well as Japan.”

    Plants like Nissan’s Sunderland plant are amongst the largest in the UK, responsible for almost a third of all the cars that rolled off the production line, with other Japanese manufacturers like Toyota and Honda building cars too.

    “The cost of manufacturing [in the UK] goes up – the parts, technology and the people,” added Mr Lee-Makiyama. “The Japanese car industry flies a lot of experts and engineers back and forth and if all that is facilitated by the EU-Japan free trade agreement, it seems much easier just to move the manufacturing capacity currently based in the UK to the single market in the case of a hard Brexit.”

    That, of course, would be devastating to the UK’s manufacturing industry, which is largely supported by the strength of car manufacturing. It would also have a large secondary effect for companies who supply products like hose fittings and pre-moulded plastics to the industry, effectively causing a great impact than one might naturally assume.

    Mr Lee-Makiyama added that he would “be very surprised if Japanese industry is not already making plans” to relocate work within the single market should the UK leave.

    Phillip Hammond, the Chancellor, has spoken openly about his belief that the UK should seek “associate membership” of the customs union, at least during an undefined “transition period”. This would allow the UK to push for external deals in vital areas like services, but would cede the right to have a say in trade deals on goods. Nevertheless, it would ensure that the UK wouldn’t lose instant access to the free market.

    Mr Lee-Makiyama said that this was “the only approach that makes sense”, but other experts cast doubt on its viability, like Matthew Weiniger QC, head of international arbitration at Linklaters, who said that “Associate membership of the customs union would not survive any brush with reality,” he said. “If you have no ability to trade your goods, to negotiate on tariffs, why on earth would they start negotiating on services? It’s what Brexiteers would call a ‘stitch-up’.”

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  • Hammond Suggests UK Economy Will Adjust to Weak Sterling

    25 Jul 2017

    Phillip Hammond, the chancellor of the exchequer, has suggested that over time Britain’s economy will adjust to the new reality in regards to the value of sterling.

    The statement came on Tuesday (18/07), when the minister was asked by a lawmaker about the impact that the still-depressed value of sterling would have. "The short run effect of a depreciation of sterling would be expected to be a decline in our trade balance performance as we suck in more expensive, in sterling terms, imports," Hammond said.

    "But over time, and there's signs the economy is doing this now, the economy will adjust, with exporters increasing their output to take advantage of weaker sterling and their greater competitiveness in international markets."

    The value of the pound has fallen significantly since Britain voted to leave the European Union, which has had a number of interesting effects, particularly on the UK’s manufacturing industry.

    Specifically, the fall in the pound has meant a short-term boost in sales and manufacturing output for UK companies, increasing confidence in the sector. However, new research has found that the UK economy is on course for a deeper slowdown than expected, as consumer spending and business investment take a hit from Brexit uncertainty.

    According to PwC’s UK Economic Outlook report, Britain’s GDP is expected to drop from 1.8% last year to 1.5% in 2017 and 1.4% in 2018. The firm have downgraded the prediction from their previous estimate, which had the 2017 GDP at 1.6%. That might sound like a small drop, but given the sums involved, it’s a significant amount of money, and a key indicator for potential investment firms planning on involving themselves in the UK.

    Consumer spending has been a key driver for the UK’s economy, but household spending power is also under threat from a combination of higher inflation and lagging wage growth. John Hawksworth, PwC’s chief economist, said that Brexit uncertainty would also put the brakes on business investment as firms waited to see the fallout from the Brexit situation.

    He said: “Brexit-related uncertainty may hold back business investment, but this should be partly offset by planned rises in public investment.

    “Fiscal policy could also be further relaxed in the 2017 Autumn Budget to offset the ongoing real squeeze on household spending power.”

    Nevertheless, the UK is only predicted to suffer a mild economic slowdown, rather than a full recession, which some had feared. It’s mixed news for the manufacturing industry, which suffers a knock-on effect from other industries, thanks to the manufacturing chain. For UK manufactures like us who produce stainless steel hose fittings, that’s not great news.

    The report indicated that growth in house prices is set to stall too, hitting 3.7% this year from the 7% seen in 2016. Richard Snook, senior economist at PwC, said: “There is a huge disparity in how sub-regional housing markets have performed since the recession.

    “The local authorities that have experienced the greatest falls in house prices since 2007 are all based in Northern Ireland, while London dominates biggest risers with all boroughs experiencing price growth of over 50 per cent.”

     

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  • Growth in UK Manufacturing Slows in June

    11 Jul 2017

    After two exceptionally impressive months of growth in the UK’s manufacturing sector, June saw an unexpected comedown as manufacturing output slowed.
    The news comes from the latest survey of purchasing managers working in the sector, and caught many economists off guard who had been expecting similar levels of growth expansion to the prior two months.
    Whilst the survey did indeed point to the 11th straight month of expansion for the sector, the rate of increase slowed as businesses reported smaller increases in new orders from domestic and export markets.
    The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) from IHS Markit fell to a three-month low of 54.3 in June. For those unfamiliar with Markit’s well respected PMI, any reading above 50 indicates growth. Economists in London had forecast a reading of 56.6 – just slightly above the reading of 56.3 that the month of May produced. That would have been a significant high, lending further credence to the notion that the UK’s manufacturing industry had shrugged off any Brexit uncertainty.
    Upon the release of the survey, Sterling fell 0.4% against the dollar, ending a rally in value which had been gathering pace over the second half of June.
    Rob Dobson, senior economist at HIS Markit said that manufacturing had “weathered the uncertainty of a general election and start of formal Brexit negotiations”, but there was a broad-based slowdown evident during June.
    That ‘broad-based slowdown’ includes a fall in output in each of Markit’s categories, which include consumer, investment and intermediate goods, which includes components used in the manufacturing of other products, like hose fittings.
    Some economists have been pinning their hopes to manufacturing in recent quarters, suggesting that as the UK economy reforms itself in the wake of Brexit, manufacturing could become central once again. This would, in turn, help to offset the slowing of the UK’s famously robust services sector.
    George Nikoladis, senior economist at the manufacturing trade organisation EEF, said that whilst growth did take a tumble in June, the average for the past three quarters still indicated the fastest rate of quarterly growth in three years, something which shouldn’t be overlooked.
    He said that “This adds to recent data over the past few months indicating that industry will continue to support the UK economy by providing a counterweight to slowing services output,”
    A number of surveys from Markit have found evidence of export-led growth, bolstered by the weakness of the pound, but these findings have not yet been reflected in official numbers from the Office for National Statistics.
    The report found that apart from some orders from the US and in western Europe, exported fared averagely in June, as suspicions that the weak but stable pound is becoming less appealing to foreign buyers. The survey also found that the higher cost of inflation brought on by weaker currency was also starting to soften, which is more than good news for consumers.
    Compared to the rest of the Eurozone, the UK’s faltering manufacturing growth is very poor indeed. A combined Eurozone PMI for last month hit 57.4, the highest rate for 6 years.

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  • UK Factory Growth Remains Strong in May

    20 Jun 2017

    Britain’s manufacturing sector has continued to shrug off the effects of an impending Brexit by posting further significant growth for the month of May, building on the impressive growth found in April.

    At least, that’s according to Markit’s PMI for May, which found that UK factory growth was close to the three-year high witnessed in April. According to Markit, the UK manufacturing PMI sat at 56.7 in May. That’s down a little from the 57 seen in April, but it remains far above the 50 reading which indicates no change.

    The report also fins that output and new order growth remained solid for May, indicating that the UK’s manufacturing sector is still benefitting from the depressed value of sterling as we enter the summer months and Brexit negotiations. However, some economists have suggested this was to do with a global upturn, rather than anything to do with currencies.

    Optimism in the sector regarding the outlook for production levels in a years’ time rose to a 20-month high, as factory bosses indicated that a “solid increase” in new export business was expected.

    Employment in the nation’s factories also rose for their tenth consecutive month, hitting a 20-month high as the sector tacked on new workers to deal with expanding output.

    One of the major issues threatening manufacturers over recently months has been the increased cost of imports due to the weak pound and high cost of raw materials. These continued to remain elevated, but they eased slightly from recent highs, giving manufacturers some much needed breathing room.

    “The survey also provided positive signs that the upturn may be sustained, as growth of new orders remained solid, backlogs of work rose at the quickest pace in six years and business optimism improved to a 20-month high," said Rob Dobson, senior economist at IHS Markit.

    Chris Leyland, an analyst at investment firm True Potential said that factory bosses face some pressures still though, saying: “Today’s figure is above 50, meaning expansion is still happening, it’s just that the rate has slowed compared to last month. There are a number of reasons for that, mostly stemming from the weaker pound pushing up import cost for factories and therefore prices for the end consumer. It also means consumers have less disposable income, because their food and fuel bills have risen. The price of oil has also increased, leading to higher fuel costs for manufacturers.

    “The key will be exports, because the weaker pound means factories may receive more orders from abroad, which could offset some domestic pain.”

    For BSP pipe fitting manufacturers like ourselves, the picture remains mixed. Whilst a strong overall manufacturing sector is good for everyone, it masks some of the inequalities in growth around the sector, namely the strength of the pharmaceutical and automotive industries.

    Indeed, it’s only a matter of time before the high cost of materials is passed on to the consumer, boosting inflation and harming the wider economy. These are issues which have to be addressed by a new government, and we eagerly await to hear what plans are being put in place by the major parties.

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  • ONS Rain on Manufacturing Parade

    20 Jun 2017

    ONS Rain on Manufacturing Parade

    The British manufacturing industry has been on something of a high recently, according to respected industry analysts Markit. Over the last couple of months, we’ve covered their industry reports which have found strong growth in both April and May, along with increased employment in the sector.

    It’s been a cause for celebration across the industry, as Brexit fears seemed to be shrugged off thanks to the lower price of British produce.

    However, the Office for National Statistics have suggested that the manufacturing and construction sectors performed badly in April, a month in which Markit registered strong growth (a reading of 57, far above the 50 which indicates no growth).

    They say that manufacturing rose by just 0.2% in the month, as did industrial production, which missed economists’ forecasts. Meanwhile, construction output dropped by 1.6% and housebuilding took a tumble. Specifically, public residential construction fell 7.9% and private work dropped by 6.9%.

    Construction might not seem to have a direct link to manufacturing, but a great many British manufacturing companies rely on a strong construction industry for domestic orders, along with a great many other companies further down the supply chain.

    Liz Martins at HSBC was surprised by the finding, pointing to Markit’s PMI surveys, which has suggested April saw an improvement in momentum. “While we still think GDP growth will be stronger in the second quarter than the first quarter’s 0.2pc, these data suggest the improvement may not be as big as indicated”, she said.

    The trade deficit shrank in April, improving the outlook for GDP, but this was because weaker domestic demand reduced imports, rather than because of any meaningful improvements in exports, which stayed flat at £49.8 billion in April, whilst imports dipped to £51.9 billion. However, it’s unwise to pay attention to monthly trade deficits, as large orders can greatly sway a months reading.

    Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY Item Club, said that the underlying trend remained positive, with exports generally improving. He said: “On a positive note, there are some underlying signs of exports benefiting from the weakened pound and decent global growth as export volumes of traded goods were up 2.1pc in the three months to April compared to the three months to January,”

    “There was some relatively good news on the inflation front for the Bank of England to digest ahead of next week’s June meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee. Import prices eased back 0.9pc month-on-month in April as sterling was modestly firmer although they were still up 7.7pc year-on-year.”

    Exports are going to be key for PTFE hose fittings suppliers like us going forward, as Brexit squeezes the manufacturing industry. Indeed, any potential levies placed on British trade within Europe could be devastating to the sector.

    Meanwhile, the Bank of England published a survey of inflation expectations and found that Britons are not expecting a serious rise in inflation, however, expectations for inflation have crept up slightly, predicted to his 3.3% in five years’ time, up from the 3.2% previously thought – another aspect which could affect UK manufacturing.

     

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  • UK Manufacturing ‘Buoyant’ Thanks to Global Economy

    08 Jun 2017

    Britain’s manufacturing industry remains on strong foot, within UK exports up as the domestic manufacturing industry continues to benefit from a weaker pound in a strengthening global economy, according to a new survey.

    The survey comes from the manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF. Their quarterly report into the current state of the British manufacturing is completed in conjunction with the accountancy firm BDO, and said that Brexit-related uncertainty was presenting “less of a drag than previously expected” on the economy.

    That’s excellent news for UK JIC fitting and SAE adapters like us, who have seen positive output and new order balances, along with large swathes of the UK’s manufacturing industry.

    They said "a combination of the weaker exchange rate and enduring healthy demand conditions should see exports continue on the up", which has put factory output on track for its fastest growth since 2014 – a fact held up by the Markit/CIPS reports from the last two months, which have found remarkable growth in the industry.

    Demand was especially “buoyant” in European markets, with 61% of firms saying they’d seen an increase, thanks to British goods becoming cheaper, due to the decreased value of sterling on the currency markets.

    The report also suggested that higher import prices may, in theory, encourage UK households to move towards domestically produced goods and services. However, this is based on the notion that British goods and services will become cheaper, somewhat ignoring the higher costs manufacturers are facing.

    As a result of the positive trends the EEF have found, they’ve revises up their forecasts for factory output for 2017 and 2018 to 1.3% and 0.5% - up from 1% and 0.1% respectively.

    Lee Hopley, chief economist at the EEF said: "Industry is reporting that output and orders have continued to head higher in recent months and the recovery in manufacturing globally is a big part of the story.

    "It's very encouraging that UK manufacturers have positioned themselves to capitalise on the windfall of a competitive pound and resurgent world economy."

    However, she stressed the need for a new industrial strategy that was “bold” and “set in stone”, by whichever party takes office next, warning that though the current situation in UK manufacturing is positive, the path ahead is a dangerous one, suggesting “it is not plain sailing from here”.

    In particular, Lee said that there’s likely to be a continued squeeze on household incomes and the possibility of “no deal” on Brexit (as touted by the Tories) could damage trade in a series way, whilst causing rising raw material costs, skills shortages and falling investment in key areas of UK manufacturing.

    "There is the continuing challenge of managing input cost increases, ensuring success in attracting and retaining the skills that are in increasing demand and driving up investment in the sector," she added.

    Continuing the pro-EU stance was Tom Lawton, a partner at BDO who added: "It is vital that we remain open for business and negotiate new trade agreements with the EU and other key markets so that international markets remain open and accessible as soon as Brexit is completed."

    It remains unclear which party will win a working majority at the general election called by Theresa May, although present indications suggest that the only thing which can stop a Conservative win would be a strong youth vote.

     

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  • UK Industrial Production Contracts More Than Expected

    18 May 2017

    Output in the UK’s construction and manufacturing sectors contracted more severely than expected in March, as the country’s trade deficit widened.

    The manufacturing sector had previously been a bright spot as a weaker currency has helped to make British products more competitive against their foreign counterparts, amid widespread concerns that a growth slowdown was underway in the UK economy.

    However, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that manufacturing fell 0.6% in March, alongside a fall in construction of 0.7%, amounting to a total fall in industrial output of 0.5% - a third straight month of decline.

    These figures fell well short of expectations, and point towards what amounts to a slowdown on momentum for the UKs economy, just as we begin our negotiations with Europe. Compounding matters, the UK’s total trade deficit in goods and services widened by £2.3 billion between February and March to £4.9 billion, contributing nearly half of the quarterly deficit.

    On a quarterly basis, however, industrial output climbed slightly by 0.1% and manufacturing growth slowed to 0.3%. Indeed, despite the negative news, the ONS are keeping their preliminary estimate that the economy grew 0.3% in the first quarter of 2017 in place.

    In the markets, the pound erased its early gains immediately after the disappointing data was revealed.

    Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "March's industrial production figures show that the pressure on consumers' real incomes from rising inflation is beginning to hurt manufacturers.

    "Industrial production has fallen for three consecutive months.

    "With households' real incomes set to come under further pressure from rising inflation, manufacturing output likely will grow only sluggishly ahead."

    The trade figures in particular make for sober reading, with the collapse in the value of the Brexit hit pound failing to provide a significant boost for exporters.

    "March's simply dreadful trade figures demonstrate that Britain is failing to capitalise on sterling's depreciation," Mr Tombs added.

    The industrial production figures were held down by a fall in housing repair and maintenance jobs, whilst the main downward impact on production came from electricity generation, due to warmer and drier weather.

    Oliver Kolodseike, senior economist at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, weighed in, saying: "Today's figures are worrying news for the sector.

    "With the consumer boom that has propelled the UK economy forward in recent years likely to end this year as rising inflation is predicted to outstrip earnings growth, manufacturing will be a key determinant of the UK economic performance.

    "With the sector expected to be a growth driver this year, today's release represents a concern for the overall economic outlook."

    Needless to say, for weld fitting specialists like us, this is bad news, and has been quickly politicised by parties opposed to the Conservative. In particular, Sir Vince Cable, former Liberal Democrat business secretary said that the figures are another sign of the “Brexit squeeze”, adding that: "Growth has slowed to a crawl, production output is turning downwards, and our economy has not been in a more worrying state since the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash.

    "Despite the Conservatives' claims that they are turning Britain into a global trading nation, the reality is that our exports to the EU are up, but down with the rest of the world.

     

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  • UK Inflation Rate Hits Highest Level Since September 2013

    18 May 2017

    Official inflation figures for the UK published today have found that inflation has hit its highest rate since September 2013, highlighting the increased costs manufacturers are facing.

    Inflation currently stands at 2.7%, up from 2.3% in March, and significantly above the Bank of England’s 2% target. The report suggest that the increased inflation was caused by higher air fares, increased clothing costs, vehicle excise duty and electricity costs.

    On the other hand, the falling costs of petrol and diesel have been credited with offsetting some of the inflationary pressure. It comes after last week’s warning from the Bank of England that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) would peak at 3% for the year, thanks to the fall in sterling after the Brexit vote.

    On the subject of higher air travel, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that air travel went up by an astonishing 18.6% from the month before, thanks to Easter falling on the 16th of April rather than the 27th of March, as it was in 2016.

    The Retail Prices Index (RPI), which is a separate measure of inflation which includes things like council tax and mortgage interest payments, reached 3.5% last month, up from 3.1% in March.

    That’s bad news for consumers, and it seems like the trouble might not end soon. Though manufacturing companies have benefitted from higher orders from abroad (owing to a weak sterling), the costs of buying materials from abroad has risen accordingly. Early indications from manufacturers like jic & sae suppliers have been that though these costs are being kept in line, the prospect of a hard Brexit would mean increased costs for customers, driving inflation up further.

    Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "Businesses continue to report that the substantial increases in the cost of raw materials and other overheads over the past year are still filtering through the supply chain, and are therefore likely to lift consumer prices higher in the coming months

    "However, it remains probable that the current period of above target inflation is transitory in nature, with little evidence that higher price growth is becoming entrenched in higher pay growth.

    "This should give the Bank of England sufficient scope to keep interest rates on hold for some time yet, despite their recent warning."

    Meanwhile, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at analysts IHS Markit, said: "The timing of Easter looks to have played an important role in pushing inflation higher in year-on-year terms.

    "But sterling's depreciation since the referendum last June is also clearly a significant factor, lifting prices for imports and likely to pile further upward pressure on consumer prices in coming months. There are nevertheless signs that inflation could perhaps rise less than many had been fearing.

    "Survey data are already showing companies' costs are rising at a slower rate than earlier in the year, and recent weeks have seen some easing in global commodity prices, notably oil."

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  • UK Aerospace Posts Strong First Quarter

    12 May 2017

    With a general election looming and the promise of a break from the European Union ringing in the ears of manufacturers across the country, it’s an understandably nervy time for industry. Should the UK leave the European Union without any concessions for trade, it’s expected that a levy will have to be placed on trade both in and out of the UK to the European Union.

    That, in turn, will lead to an increase in costs and inflation, hitting customers where it hurts. However, the immediate situation we’ve found ourselves in with Brexit is actually rather favourable. The fall in the value of the pound has meant that for countries around the world, the UK has become an appealing place to buy from.

    In certain sectors like manufacturing that’s meant a sharp uptick in orders and some of the strongest growth witnessed in years. This is partly because orders for many manufacturers aren’t booked far in advance, but that’s not the only reason. As manufactures of stainless steel PTFE fittings, we’ve witnessed first-hand the surge in orders from overseas, but we aren’t the only industry benefitting.

    Indeed, the UK aerospace industry – a particularly vital part of UK manufacturing and one at serious threat from Brexit – enjoyed the strongest first quarter since records began. The value of aircraft deliveries to the UK reached an unprecedented £6.5bn during Q1 2017, up a full billion since the same time last year, determined by a 10 percent rise in wide-body aircraft deliveries.

    Orders have also risen by 40 percent for the first quarter, compared to the same period last year, and delivery rates are 15 percent higher than they were five years ago. The total number of aircraft deliveries in the first three months of the year reached 307, ahead of Q1 2016 – a year which had set new records for aviation distribution.

    Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS, the trade Organisation for companies in the UK aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, said: “Global demand is driving production rates higher and UK expertise is delivering essential components and technologies. Despite the uncertainties associated with the decision to leave the EU, aerospace innovation and productivity is helping to sustain the high value, long-term jobs our economy needs."

    New orders were also strong, with 242 orders for new aircraft in the quarter were added to the already strong backlog of orders, which now sits at its all-time third highest level, with nearly 13,500 aircraft remaining on the books, worth a potential £220bn to the UK manufacturing sector.

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  • Tata Secure Deal with Liberty House to Save 1,700 UK Steel Jobs

    10 May 2017

    A large part of 2016’s manufacturing industry chatter centred around Tata steel, the Indian steel giant with, at that time, a huge presence in the UK, encompassing plants in locations across the UK. Early last year, however, the company was seeking a way out of the European market (and the UK in particular), after reporting a net loss of 32.9 billion rupees for Q1 2016.

    That was bad news for the 11,000 employees of Tata’s UK operations, who were thrown into a state of uncertainty by the news that their jobs, largely specialist, were at significant risk. What would follow was a prolonged negotiation between Tata steel, the Government (which offered to take 25% of the business in order to save jobs) and a total of seven bidders.

    Those bidders included the commodities trading groups Liberty House and Greybull. The latter firm later agreed to acquire Tata’s Scunthorpe steelworks for a nominal fee of £1, plus all debts that the operation had accrued. However, it was the former group which made the biggest moves, taking large swathes of their business and saving jobs.

    Now, almost 10 months since the first Tata news stories broke, Tata Steel have completed the £100m sale of its speciality steels business to Liberty House, safeguarding 1,700 jobs and creating 300 more in the north of England.

    The deal will secure the future of sites in Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Brinsworth, as well as other sites in Bolton and Wednesbury. It also includes a pair of distribution centres in China. Liberty House have announced that they intend to invest up to £20m in the new plant and equipment over the next year in order to boost competitiveness in a post-Brexit landscape.

    Sanjeev Gupta, the head of Liberty House, said the deal represented “a big vote of confidence in the future of British industry”.

    He added: “With the right business model and an innovative approach, the UK steel and engineering sectors can recover and thrive. The government is now pursuing a new post-Brexit industrial strategy and steel must be at the heart of that strategy.

    “The speciality steels business is a global leader in its field, with a highly-skilled and well-motivated workforce and we are eager to invest so it can grow and achieve its full potential.”

    The extra 300 jobs will primarily take the form of production jobs in the Yorkshire plants, however, Liberty said that it had “bigger plans” across the wider business, too. That’s good news for the wider UK manufacturing, which will benefit from a strong steel industry, with local steel available for the production of stainless steel parts, like our adaptors.

    Roy Rickhuss, the general secretary of Community, the steelworkers’ trade union, welcomed the deal, saying: “The completion of the sale will bring some welcome certainty to a workforce that has faced a tough time over recent months and years. It demonstrates that with the right vision there are opportunities for the UK steel industry to grow.”

    Tony Brady, the national officer at the union Unite, said the deal brought to an end “months of agonising uncertainty” for workers. “This is a workforce which has done everything asked of them over the last few years to give speciality steelmaking a fighting chance in the UK. Liberty House’s commitments on jobs and new investment are a welcome recognition of the skills of a dedicated workforce.”

     

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