A leading Cumbrian business adviser has called for government intervention following disheartening data about the UK manufacturing industry.

The partner and head of the manufacturing team at MHA Moore and Smalley in Kendal, Ginni Cooper, reacted to January's Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data, which showed that the industry was met with continued challenges resulting in job losses and decreased purchasing.

The index fell to 47, with Ms Cooper commenting: "This month’s Manufacturing PMI is flat, which highlights how conditions are still challenging for the sector."

She called for state support, saying: "With the budget a matter of weeks away, UK manufacturing is keen for the government to seize the opportunity to make a decisive impact with targeted measures, tax breaks and grants to help stimulate growth and put the brakes on further decline."

Beyond domestic concerns, international issues also loom.

The Red Sea crisis has disrupted supply chains, impacting UK manufacturers.

She added: “The manufacturing industry is in the midst of a perfect storm.

"There are signs that there will be an impact on supply chains due to the events in the Red Sea and potentially also the new border controls on imports from the EU that were implemented yesterday, which will lead to further disruptions.

“These challenges are compounded by the uncertainty of when interest rates might fall, leading to further cost pressures.

"Manufacturers are going to be starting to feel the impact of corporation tax that came into force last April, as well as the increase in the minimum wage, which will have a knock-on effect and tax repercussions.”