Cities lead way but engineering firms are urged to invest more in R&D

LEEDS and Sheffield rank among the best cities for engineering in the UK, according to a report published by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). However, the report warns that UK engineering firms could fall behind their overseas competitors if they stop investing in research and development (R&D) during the downturn.

The report found that only one in ten businesses are planning to increase their R&D spending over the next two to five years.

Worryingly, of those firms that do spend cash on R&D, only four per cent of them are UK manufacturers involved in cutting edge technology. Peter Russell, the head of manufacturing at RBS, said: “Engineering companies need to act now to secure future growth – for themselves and the UK as a whole.

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“New technology and techniques are quickly changing the landscape of manufacturing and we must be able to exploit these opportunities. For the UK to be able to compete internationally, expenditure on research and development in tomorrow’s technologies must increase substantially.”

According to RBS, the UK is the ninth largest manufacturing country in the world.

High value engineering firms account for 35 per cent of all exports.