Scotland business

Engineers cite effects of Brexit for slump in orders and output

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Scotland's engineering companies have seen their order books and output volumes slump to their lowest level since 2009, according to a new report.

Scottish Engineering's latest quarterly review also found a drop in employment levels.

The industry body said uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote was one factor "exacerbating negative trading conditions" for firms.

It said the fall in sterling had added to costs for Scottish businesses.

Order levels were negative for the eighth quarter in a row, according to the review. A total of 45% of firms said their orders were down, while 32% said they remained static and 23% reported orders had gone up.

'Stifle growth'

Almost half of firms (48%) said their output volumes had fallen in the past three months, while 21% reported an increase and 31% said they remained the same.

Staffing levels also dipped "considerably" in the third quarter of this year, according to responses from companies.

Scottish Engineering chief executive Bryan Buchan said: "We appear to have been hit on all fronts.

"The potential benefits of a weaker pound for exports have yet to be realised and our figures show there has been substantial downturn in export orders."

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, he added: "It would good to see a very clear strategy on the part of the UK government for negotiating the terms of trade and I really think that has to be accelerated.

"If we are into a situation where we have to have two years worth of trade negotiations then that will stifle growth."

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