Southern Region

GMB study shows erosion of manufacturing sector in the South East since 2006/7Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Posted: 01 Feb 2018

In the 10 years between 2006/7 and 2016/7 there was a fall of 71,300 in the numbers of workers employed in the manufacturing sector in the South East. The numbers fell from 430,800 to 359,500 a fall of 16.6%. This means that manufacturing workers make up 7.9% of the total workforce in the region compared to 10.3% in 2006/7.

For the UK as a whole, the number of workers employed in manufacturing fell from 3,552,300 to 2,892,900, between 2006/07 and 2016/17, a fall of 18.6%. Manufacturing in the UK now makes up 9.1% compared to 12.2% in 2006/7.

Sevenoaks had 7,100 employed in the manufacturing sector between in 2006/07. By 2016/17 the figure was just 2,600, a drop of 63.4%. This was the biggest drop in the South East, and showed that manufacturing workers made up just 4.7% of the total workforce in Sevenoaks, compared to 11.9% in 2006/7.

Other areas that saw a fall were Rother, where the drop was -58.3%, followed by Ashford -58.2%, Maidstone -57.9%, Canterbury -57.8%, Arun -55.3%, Elmbridge -54.5%, Vale of White Horse -53.5%, Lewes -48.3%, and Horsham -44.9%. The data for Tandridge, Surrey Heath, Hastings, Gravesham, Epsom & Ewell and Dartford, were not available.

21 local councils in the South East bucked the trend, with numbers in manufacturing increasing. These included; Worthing, Fareham, South Bucks, Crawley, Cherwell, Aylesbury Vale, Wealden, Guildford, Havant, Mole Valley, South Oxfordshire, Waverly and Adur.

The figures for the 61 councils are set out in the table below. This is from a new study by GMB Southern Region of official data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for 61 councils in the South East. It compares the number of people employed in the manufacturing industry and as a percentage of all in employment, followed by the changes in numbers and in percentages. [See notes to editors for sources, definitions and qualifications]

annual population survey
ONS Crown Copyright Reserved [from Nomis on 29 January 2018]

confidence 95% confidence interval of percent figure (+/-)
variable % all in employment who work in – C:manufacturing (SIC 2007)

Area Oct 2006-Sep 2007 Oct 2016-Sep 2017
numerator percent numerator percent change % change
England 3,018,100 12.3 2,464,300 9.2 -553,800 -18.3
Great Britain 3,452,100 12.1 2,812,600 9.1 -639,500 -18.5
United Kingdom 3,552,300 12.2 2,892,900 9.1 -659,400 -18.6

South East 430,800 10.3 359,500 7.9 -71,300 -16.6

Worthing 3,900 7.8 6,300 11.5 2,400 61.5
Fareham 5,700 10.6 9,200 15.4 3,500 61.4
South Bucks 3,500 11.7 5,300 15.4 1,800 51.4
Crawley 4,100 7.5 6,000 9.1 1,900 46.3
Cherwell 8,800 11.8 12,400 16.3 3,600 40.9
Aylesbury Vale 7,000 8.6 9,600 9.2 2,600 37.1
Wealden 5,400 7.9 7,200 9.9 1,800 33.3
Guildford 6,300 8.8 7,700 9.7 1,400 22.2
Havant 5,700 10.0 6,900 11.7 1,200 21.1
Mole Valley 2,900 6.9 3,500 8.7 600 20.7
South Oxfordshire 5,000 7.6 5,900 9.0 900 18.0
Waverley 3,100 5.7 3,600 6.2 500 16.1
Adur 3,900 12.2 4,500 14.3 600 15.4
Thanet 7,500 14.1 8,500 11.7 1,000 13.3
Runnymede 4,800 10.8 5,200 10.3 400 8.3
Dover 4,100 8.5 4,400 8.5 300 7.3
Southampton 11,900 10.3 12,400 9.7 500 4.2
Shepway 4,400 9.2 4,500 8.5 100 2.3
Wokingham 9,400 11.4 9,600 11.8 200 2.1
Oxford 5,400 7.5 5,500 6.1 100 1.9
Brighton and Hove 7,800 5.9 7,900 5.1 100 1.3
Chichester 4,500 9.3 4,500 7.6 0 0.0
Basingstoke and Deane 9,800 11.2 9,600 9.6 -200 -2.0
Eastbourne 4,100 9.6 4,000 8.6 -100 -2.4
Spelthorne 4,100 9.2 4,000 7.7 -100 -2.4
Reading 6,400 7.8 6,100 6.9 -300 -4.7
Wycombe 9,300 10.7 8,800 9.3 -500 -5.4
West Oxfordshire 6,600 11.4 6,000 10.4 -600 -9.1
Portsmouth 11,600 11.6 10,500 9.8 -1,100 -9.5
Mid Sussex 4,200 6.1 3,800 5.4 -400 -9.5
Windsor and Maidenhead 9,100 12.6 8,200 10.6 -900 -9.9
Isle of Wight 7,500 12.4 6,700 11.5 -800 -10.7
New Forest 6,600 8.3 5,800 6.8 -800 -12.1
Bracknell Forest 6,600 10.8 5,700 8.6 -900 -13.6
West Berkshire 9,900 12.1 8,500 10.5 -1,400 -14.1
Slough 7,700 12.2 6,300 8.6 -1,400 -18.2
Medway 16,500 13.2 13,400 9.6 -3,100 -18.8
Eastleigh 8,600 14.2 6,400 9.5 -2,200 -25.6
Woking 5,300 11.1 3,800 7.2 -1,500 -28.3
Test Valley 8,400 13.2 6,000 9.6 -2,400 -28.6
Hart 6,200 12.6 4,400 9.0 -1,800 -29.0
Tonbridge and Malling 4,400 8.0 3,100 5.0 -1,300 -29.5
East Hampshire 7,300 13.2 5,100 8.4 -2,200 -30.1
Winchester 5,700 9.9 3,900 6.3 -1,800 -31.6
Rushmoor 6,800 13.7 4,500 8.3 -2,300 -33.8
Chiltern 4,400 9.7 2,900 6.2 -1,500 -34.1
Tunbridge Wells 4,500 8.5 2,800 4.8 -1,700 -37.8
Reigate and Banstead 6,800 10.7 4,200 5.3 -2,600 -38.2
Milton Keynes 15,600 12.4 9,600 7.2 -6,000 -38.5
Gosport 5,200 11.9 3,100 7.9 -2,100 -40.4
Swale 7,200 12.1 4,200 6.4 -3,000 -41.7
Horsham 6,900 10.7 3,800 5.3 -3,100 -44.9
Lewes 2,900 6.3 1,500 3.0 -1,400 -48.3
Vale of White Horse 10,100 15.7 4,700 7.0 -5,400 -53.5
Elmbridge 4,400 6.8 2,000 3.3 -2,400 -54.5
Arun 10,300 15.2 4,600 6.7 -5,700 -55.3
Canterbury 6,400 9.3 2,700 4.0 -3,700 -57.8
Maidstone 5,700 7.7 2,400 3.1 -3,300 -57.9
Ashford 7,900 13.8 3,300 5.0 -4,600 -58.2
Rother 4,800 11.8 2,000 5.0 -2,800 -58.3
Sevenoaks 7,100 11.9 2,600 4.7 -4,500 -63.4
Dartford 4,300 9.1 # 3.9 # #
Epsom and Ewell 2,000 5.6 # 3.7 # #
Gravesham 3,600 7.9 ! ! ! !
Hastings 3,700 8.8 ! ! ! !
Surrey Heath 5,500 12.7 ! ! ! !
Tandridge 3,800 9.6 ! ! ! !

# These figures are suppressed as statistically unreliable.
! Estimate and confidence interval not available since the group sample size is zero or disclosive (0-2).
* Estimate and confidence interval unreliable since the group sample size is small (3-9).

Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary, said: “This steady erosion of the manufacturing base is continuing with job losses at Britvic and Coleman’s in Norwich as the latest examples.

However, the erosion cannot be allowed to continue. The UK has a balance of payments deficit of no less than £95 billion which amounts to 5% of our gross domestic product. This is not sustainable and will not be sustained.

Last year the government published plans for a coherent industrial strategy which must be built on to halt the erosion of manufacturing jobs.

This requires cooperation between local authorities and national government, the education sector and both employers and unions to bring forward plans for new manufacturing jobs in every area of the region.

It requires that public procurement is used to promote export sectors and to favour import substitution. On green energy sources for example there should be a threshold for UK sourced parts before a project is eligible for subsidies.

It is fashionable not to worry about the balance of payments deficit but this is wrong. We need politicians who will provide leadership to address the issue before it is too late. The time is now.”

Contact: Michelle Gordon 07866 369 259 or Charles Harrity 07977 518 042 or GMB Press Office 07970 114 762

Notes to Editors
1.Source: Annual Population Survey from the Office for National Statistics; Nomis
2.Annual Population Survey is residence based and a continuous household survey covering the UK.
3. The data is for all in employment who work in the manufacturing industry for the years to September 2007 and September 2017
4. The APS is the source recommended for employment-related statistics, such as estimates of the number of people in employment or unemployed.