Manufacturer Material Shortages: Call for Government Action

A manufacturers’ organisation has called on the government to address the growing threat of material shortages in the UK. The EEF is putting the pressure on for action to be made after publishing research highlighting this escalating issue. Damning statistics suggest an ever-increasing risk to the British economy.

According to the findings, three quarters of manufacturers have seen their material costs increase since 2000 and around 40% of all costs are being swamped up by footing the bill for these increasingly expensive materials.  Besides this, the commodity price volatility has been the highest in a century.

Increase in global demand

The number of middle-class consumers around the world is expected to rise from 1.8 billion people to 4.9 billion by 2030. Demand for all commodities is expected to hike dramatically by 30–80% in this time. While 14 materials were declared in short supply by the EU in 2010, this has now risen to 20 materials.

Consumer electrics, telecoms, engineering, construction, agriculture, aerospace, steel and aluminium production are among the industries under threat. The EEF is concerned that, unlike other countries, such as Germany and China, that have strategies in place to deal with supply issues, the UK government is unprepared.

Susanne Baker, Senior Policy Advisor at EEF, said:  “Manufacturers have sounded the alarm over the growing risks to material supply and others are now picking up the clarion call. But while competitor nations are already taking evasive action, our government is in danger of burying its head in the sand.

“Given how crucial material supplies are to the UK’s wealth and economic stability, there is clear case for a new Office of Resource Management to act as a central hub of expertise, data and stakeholder liaison and to co-ordinate the UK’s response to these risks.”