UK factories increasingly plan lay-offs, survey shows

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British factories are increasingly planning to lay off workers, a warning sign for the economy as it tries to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, an industry survey showed on Friday.

Some 46% of manufacturers expect to make redundancies over the next six months, up sharply from 25% in May, according to sectoral group Make UK which is calling on the government take more measures immediately to support jobs.

“Conditions are still very tough for many companies with disruption likely to continue for some time,” said Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK. “This has led some to reluctantly conclude that with demand unlikely to return for some time, if at all, they are moving to the painful choice of redundancy.” The survey showed only a slight improvement in gauges of revenue and new orders. Make UK said finance minister Rishi Sunak – who has already announced around 133 billion pounds’ worth of emergency measures, mostly to protect jobs – should consider cutting business rate taxes for manufacturers, a priority for 61% of the companies surveyed.

Sunak is due to announce an update to his plans for steering the economy through the coronavirus crisis on July 8.