Southampton manufacturers have begun the year on a strong note, despite generally weaker UK economic conditions.

This is according to the Q4 Manufacturing Outlook survey by Make UK and BDO, published today. Make UK is forecasting sector growth of just 0.1 per cent in 2024 and 0.8 per cent in 2025.

However, Southampton has been a trend contrast, particularly in its electronics and food and drink sectors, the region's largest.

The survey showed output in the South East region, including Southampton, increased to +37 per cent from +26 per cent in the previous quarter. Order expectations for the next quarter are robust at +39 per cent.

Jim Davison, region director for the South East at Make UK, said: "After the economic and political shocks of the last few years there is now strong confidence among manufacturers in the South East.

"While growth in the economy is not exactly supercharged, the positive announcements in the Autumn Statement and Budget can at least allow them to plan with more certainty for the future."

Matthew Sewell, head of manufacturing at BDO in Southampton, said: "Manufacturers in Southampton and the wider South East region have continued to show their ability to overcome wave after wave of challenges, but they cannot continue to do this indefinitely without some more long-term support from the Government.

"Despite the challenges faced across the region, orders for the coming quarter are in a strong position with demand for labour and investment remaining robust in Southampton. Whatever happens in the next few months will be critical to the sector."