Cumbria's manufacturing sector is 'ready to bounce back' according to a Kendal-based accountancy and advisory firm partner.

MHA's Ginni Cooper's comments follow UK manufacturing data revealing notable growth in May, with output expanding at the fastest pace in more than two years.

The S&P Global UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) reported a rise to 51.2 in May, up from 49.1 in April.

The confidence within the sector is gaining momentum, with 63 per cent of companies predicting they will see an expansion in their output in the coming year.

Ms Cooper said: "Manufacturing PMI has held above 50 for two out of the last three months which means the sector is heading in the right direction.

“However, ongoing concerns about high interest rates are stifling the flow of money into our manufacturing clients and the continued uncertainty around when UK interest rates might be cut means that businesses remain reluctant to invest.

“After some of the challenges of the last few years, the announcement of the general election and the relatively short period of campaigning is welcome news for the manufacturing sector, as after July 5 there will be some certainty at last for business, whichever party is in power."

Ms Cooper advises manufacturing and engineering companies across the region.

She said: "The manufacturing industry is looking to the next government to introduce a long-term industrial strategy to drive growth, which is critical to reenergise the sector.

“Any plans will need to look at investing in skills as well as infrastructure which will allow manufacturing businesses to be proactive and look forward to the future rather than just being reactive.”