UK industrial output rises but manufacturing still weak

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Industrial output in the UK rose by 0.4 per cent between April and May but the manufacturing sector remains weak, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The largest contribution came from mining and quarrying, which increased by 4.9 per cent per cent during the period – the biggest increase in more than a year.

UK industrial production was up 2.1 per cent year-on-year, propelled by a 7.3 per cent increase in mining and quarrying output.

However, manufacturing output continues to disappoint, dropping 0.6 per cent month-on-month in May. This follows a 0.4 per cent fall in April.

Chancellor George Osborne has previously said Britain must address “its poor productivity” as “we don’t manufacture enough”.

British Chambers of Commerce chief economist David Kern urges the Government to make “every effort” to encourage manufacturing firms to explore international export markets, including those beyond the European Union.

Kern says: “While the UK economy will remain dependent on its dynamic services sector, manufacturing remains a vital sector for productivity, innovation and exports.

“Although manufacturing is coping with very difficult global circumstances, the sector is facing serious structural problems. While eurozone growth prospects have improved recently, the weakness of the euro against the pound has made it harder for UK businesses to compete and Greece’s ongoing problems could exacerbate this.”