This is why a North-South divide has emerged among manufacturing firms

A clear North-South divide has emerged among manufacturing firms, showing huge differences in performance, according to a new report.

Concerns have been raised about a growing regional divide in the manufacturing sector. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Industry in London and the South East is “booming”, far outstripping other regions of the UK, said manufacturing group Make UK.

Its survey of 339 companies suggested that London and the South East has become the second largest manufacturing region of the country, just behind the North West.

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In contrast, the West Midlands is suffering from problems in the motor industry, said the report.

Make UK chief economist Seamus Nevin said: “There is now a clear two-speed economy in manufacturing performance, with London and the South East at full speed while some other regions are stuck in first or second gear.

“While there are a number of global factors impacting on the performance of some regions, industry will support the new Government in any drive to boost growth and investment across all UK regions.”

Tom Lawton, of business advisers BDO, which helped with the research, said: “The old North-South divide is unfortunately still very much in play when it comes to industrial performance.

“Industry will be keen to see the new Government promote investment, skills and employment across the whole of the UK to re-balance growth.”