Metals sector optimistic despite international trade,energy and labour challenges warns new report

Engineering Industry News

Rising energy prices, the impact of life after the EU and labour shortages continue to be the
main challenges facing the UK metals sector according to a new report due to be launched
next week.

Nearly a quarter of firms in the UK Metals Council’s State of the Metals Industry in the UK
2023/24 survey admitted to adjusting supply chain strategies or sourcing alternatives, whilst
just under a third want enhanced Government support to navigate trade barriers and custom
procedures in the wake of Brexit.

22% of manufacturers are also looking for improved energy supply contracts to bring prices
down to more affordable levels, with just 31% of businesses saying that they have an
effective recruitment strategy in place for filling the well-documented labour gaps.
There were positive sentiments in the report, which will be officially published during the
opening address at the UK Metal Expo in Birmingham on September 13th .

Despite the widespread challenges, 70% of respondents are optimistic or very optimistic
about future business prospects, underlining the resilience of the sector and its ability to

“We touch metals every day, whether that is in our homes, in the cars, planes and trains we
travel in, the medical devices we rely on, as well as tools and machinery used for their
production,” explained Rachel Eade MBE, Chair of the UK Metals Council.
“Importantly, it is now recognised that metals can be infinitely and readily recycled into new
parts, something that cannot be said for many other materials in modern life – we need to
value metals more as we move to a Net Zero economy.
“Foundation industries will continue to play a critical role in the way we all live, and this vital
sector needs a voice to ensure that the Government understands the journey we are on.”
She went on to add: “This is why we came up with the State of the Metals Industry in the UK
Report, a unique opportunity for us to canvas the views of primes, metal producers and
those in the downward supply chain.

“The issues they are facing span from supply chain disruption because of Brexit to
availability of raw materials and how they can mitigate the cost of energy – a key issue when
you consider levels of consumption in our industry.

“Skills and the ability to get new people into our sector is also a challenge that is holding
many of them back as they look to support the UK’s desire to move towards Net Zero. We’ll
be highlighting this to Government at the UK Metals Expo next week.”

The UK Metals Council is made up of 12 trade associations from across the full spectrum of
the metals supply chain, from primary manufacturing to recycling.
In total, it represents the interests and views of over 11,000 companies, employing directly
and indirectly nearly one million people.

The first ever State of the Metals Industry in the UK Report was launched to provide a sector
snapshot of the opportunities and challenges faced by the domestic metals industry and the
prospects for future growth and sustainability.

It will be officially available from Wednesday September 13 th and all the findings will be sent
to Government to help it shape future policy and support, whilst the data will also be
available for sector specialists, companies and academia to use for intelligence gathering,
bids and lobbying.

Lord Rupert Redesdale, Chair of UK Metals Expo, noted: “UK Metals Expo is the perfect
platform for launching the report, with more than 200 exhibitors and 4000 industry
professionals attending from 52 different countries.

“The themes at UK Metals Expo align seamlessly with the UK’s Net Zero ambitions,
depending as this does on advanced materials, manufacturing excellence and engineering

“A robust domestic metals supply chain is pivotal in realising our objectives, whilst driving
energy-efficient production, nurturing circular economy practices, and propelling
sustainable advancement.
“We anticipate lively discussions on the report’s findings over the two-day event and eagerly
await feedback from attendees.”

For further information, please visit

Leave a Comment