UK manufacturing has the skills to adapt to Brexit while remaining competitive and attractive to overseas investment, according to Chris Mould, partner at the Cheltenham office of national audit, tax and advisory firm Crowe Clark Whitehill.
And he predicted that short term pain could be followed by gains in the longer term.
He said: “Since the vote to leave the EU, confidence has wavered. Brexit is a two-year process which means a prolonged period of uncertainty.
“The volatility of exchange rates, and the political merry-go-round at Westminster has, to some extent, exacerbated this.
“Directors and shareholders in the sector have been questioning day-to-day decisions, which would have previously been made with little analysis.
They are also changing or delaying strategic plans, but on the plus side many are benefiting from cheaper exports, which is certainly helping.
“The short-term cautious approach taken by many seems to be the favoured way to deal with the immediate challenge. The sector is experiencing a bumpy ride.”
Mr Mould said a particular worry revolved around the availability of the funding element which has traditionally come out of the EU pot. “The Government has a huge part to play in this area to minimise such concerns”.
“But for manufacturing business across the UK, Brexit could provide long awaited freedom in the long term.”
He went on: “That is because people feel the sector will be in a better place, without the constraints and costs associated with being a member of the EU.
“Manufacturing is too important for it be left behind and it is up to us to ensure that this remains the case. The UK economy and in particular the UK manufacturing sector is a vital part of the World economy and there is no reason why this should change.”