Brexit fears 'stalk manufacturers', study suggests
FEARS over Brexit are "stalking" manufacturers, hitting their business prospects, according to a report.
A looming global slowdown and protectionism are adding to pessimism for the outlook of the UK economy, said the EEF manufacturers organisation and insurer AIG.
Their survey of almost 250 firms suggested they expected to see growth in exports and employment in 2019, but were less confident than a year ago.
EEF chief executive Stephen Phipson said: "While companies are naturally optimistic by their very nature, the spectre of Brexit is now very front of mind for manufacturers.
"This is bringing with it a whole host of risks from increased exchange rate volatility to rising input costs which right now are very difficult to plan for.
"Business is crying out for some certainty and clarity on moving to a transition period and will have watched the pre-Christmas pantomime in Parliament with dismay. This situation cannot continue."
Simon Gallimore of AIG said: "It's promising to see that UK manufacturers remain optimistic about the prospects for the global economy, despite the challenges of Brexit and other trade tensions expected in 2019, and the potential for a squeeze on cash flow."
A Government spokesman said: "We are determined to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the most competitive locations in the world for advanced manufacturing.
"The good deal we have agreed with the EU will help us achieve this. It delivers on the referendum, protects jobs and security, and provides certainty for businesses and citizens - which is why MPs should support it."