Almost three in four (74%) of the UK public believe that the manufacturing sector stepped up to meet the challenge of supporting the UK as coronavirus took a grip on the nation in March 2020. The same number of respondents (74%) believe that a strategic long-term plan for helping UK manufacturing to be more productive and competitive will help insulate us from future pandemics and go some way to protect UK GDP, of which manufacturing contributes over 17%. Furthermore, three quarters (75%) of the UK public believe more strongly in the importance of UK manufacturing as a result of coronavirus.

The research, conducted among 2,000 adults by Populus for industrial communications firm Cadence Innovation Marketing, also found that nearly eight in ten people (76%) are concerned about cheap imported goods in the wake of coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global supply chains and resulted in many UK factories switching production to medical devices and products in a bid to help the NHS cope. Manufacturing has taken a central role in the unfolding drama and rarely in recent times has it been the subject of so much media and public attention.

Tom Spencer, MD at Cadence said: “Our snapshot poll sought to delve deeper into what’s behind the media commentary by asking a representative sample of over 2000 UK adults for their opinion on a range of topics raised by coronavirus. The results offer an insight into changing public opinion about the importance and relevance of UK manufacturing”.

More than two in three of those questioned believe that the UK manufacturing sector has risen to the challenge of coronavirus, with just 6% disagreeing with them. “This huge public vote of confidence in our often beleaguered and under-supported sector is just one of several remarkable statistics thrown up by our research” added Spencer.

The study, which was carried out in early May 2020, clearly shows that the UK public has swung behind UK industry at a time when many manufacturers have stepped up to support the nation and its much-loved health service.

Steve Brambley, CEO, GAMBICA said: ““The result shows that there is a genuine opportunity for the UK to open a new page in its history as it embarks on the era of digital transformation that will define it for generations to come. It remains to be seen if the pandemic itself, resultant global economic turmoil, and Brexit will distract or divert resources away from an environment that will support the regeneration of UK industry, but this poll makes one thing abundantly clear: the people of the UK stand firmly behind our industry and believe strongly in its future”.

The Annual Attitudes to UK Industry study is a series of snapshot polls and in-depth research culminating in an annual report to be presented to the media. Cadence Innovation Marketing works with leading organisations across industry and has sponsored the study’s launch to help keep communications surrounding the sector’s importance and contribution to the economy front of mind. More information is available at www.attitudestoukindustry.co.uk