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Business welcomes latest manufacturing figures


Latest figures for June reveal that manufacturing output rose at its fastest pace in two- and-a-half years, providing a welcome boost for British industry.


After a fall in both May and April, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that manufacturing output was up by 1.9% in June.


Experts said these figures were buoyed by strong expansion in the transport sector, which rose by 5.3%.


Meanwhile overall industrial production, which includes output from the UK's factories and mines, was up by 1.1% on the previous month.


The increase was much higher than many analysts had predicted, and comes as welcome news to business and employer groups.


Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, David Kern, said: ‘After the disappointing figures we saw in May, this is positive news for the economy.


‘But we mustn’t become complacent. The level of UK output is more than 3% below its pre-recession peak in 2008, and the manufacturing sector still faces major challenges over the months ahead. The government must do more to refocus its priorities towards policies that will enable businesses to drive the recovery.’


The manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF, also expressed its satisfaction over the latest figures.


‘The production data gives further weight to the view that manufacturing activity will continue to gain pace, becoming a more important contributor to growth in the year ahead,’ commented Lee Hopley, the EEF’s chief economist.