The Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM), who represent over 200 companies involved in the manufacture of fasteners, forgings, pressings, cold-rolled and sheet metal products, has welcomed Rishi Sunak’s mixture of Job Support Scheme (JSS), extension of Business Support Loans and VAT deferrals as industry battles with falling volumes due to the pandemic.

According to its latest survey, 90% of its members had accessed the furlough scheme and, more importantly, 65% would change their mind on future redundancies if further assistance was in place.

The report painted a stark picture of current performance, with 88% of firms admitting that volumes had been hit by the pandemic and four fifths predicting their future sales forecast will be below average.

Geraldine Bolton, Chief Executive Office of CBM, commented: “A lot of our members are heavily involved in the automotive and aerospace sectors and these are two of the worst affected industries due to factory closures and the air travel falling off a cliff.

“The furlough scheme has been a great success, but the October deadline is fast approaching and our members are starting to plan for future staffing levels against the reality of sales they are expecting.”

“The Job Support Scheme will give them more time to look at new revenue streams, whilst providing flexibility to get people back into work at reduced hours.

“We have spent so long addressing skills shortages in our sector, the last thing firms need is to lose skilled people as it will hamper them in their longer-term recovery.”

Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, said: “I warmly congratulate the Chancellor for taking decisive action that will help avoid the significant redundancies we were facing had there been a cliff edge end to government support. The priority right now has to be saving as many jobs as possible and this is a bold and brave move which industry will welcome. In particular, the Chancellor should take great credit for reflecting on the experience of other countries and implementing similar measures here; this will help us be strongly competitive as we return to normal trading conditions.

“Building on this, we must also recognise that there are some sectors of manufacturing where there is still not enough demand to even drive part time work. These are viable, often world leading firms, facing a sustained but temporary absence of demand. The aerospace and automotive sectors in particular, along with their supply chains, are leading edge high skill areas which will be the growth sectors of the future.

“I know that the Chancellor shares our concerns and we look forward to discussing what further measures can be brought forward to support these vital sectors for our economy which will be the engines of our future economic success.”

David Nicklin, managing director at Nicklin Transit Packaging, says: “The Budget being cancelled speaks volumes about the challenges ahead for businesses and the economy. Right now, many manufacturers are facing significant extra pressures in the form of rising costs, reduced availability of raw materials, volatile customer demand and personnel challenges caused by rising Covid infection rates.

“We have worked hard to reconfigure our operations to ensure continuity of service to all of our customers throughout the crisis and will continue to do so over the coming winter period. These new measures are a helpful safety net for businesses at this uncertain time but we hope the chancellor will be keeping all options on the table to allow for further support as the situation evolves.”