The British manufacturing industry is facing its worst winter since the 1970s as spiking energy costs could result in blackouts and shutdowns, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
The report indicated that the latest purchasing managers’ index, which was published on Thursday, confirmed the steepest contraction in production since the depths of the coronavirus lockdown in May 2020.
According to S&P Global and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, “companies experienced a sharp reversal in new orders, with demand from domestic and overseas clients contracting sharply.”
The publication outlined fears of possible blackouts as the government braces for energy shortages.
The CEO of the British Ceramic Confederation, Rob Flello, told Bloomberg that any shutdowns would pose a serious risk to industries that depend on a constant supply of energy.
The head of British Glass, Dave Dalton, warned that glass furnaces “cannot be turned off,” stressing that “the damage that can occur within a few hours of gas being disconnected will lead to furnaces being lost.”
The report also noted that the UK’s energy price cap applies only to households, while businesses have no protection from skyrocketing prices. Some companies have already warned of upcoming layoffs.
Earlier in the summer, a banknote-printing business, which had been split off from London-listed De La Rue in 2018, said it would close its plant in Overton, Hampshire, with a reported loss of 300 jobs.
“The final trigger was that their energy price contracts expired,” Steve Freeman from the Confederation of Paper Industries told Bloomberg. “They just can’t pass the extra costs on. So that was the final nail in their coffin,” he added.