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Investigate Sectors

2
Aerospace & Defence

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The Aerospace and Defence market is strongly influenced by the expenditure of the government as one of the market’s largest customers. With the increased budget of the Ministry of Defence (now £33.4 billion), manufacturers are likely to enjoy a significant increase in sales. Despite this healthy state of affairs, the industry is not big enough for larger competitors and must look overseas to robust export markets in order to sustain long term profitability. Security concerns demand that it is a priority to source defence equipment from domestic companies, but economic concerns likewise demand that public spending must be cost effective. Consequently, companies must ensure that they compete effectively on cost and quality with big European competitors and abide by EU competition rules for procurement of ‘non warlike’ equipment. The cross-border collaborative nature of the aerospace sector means that UK companies seldom occupy a prime contractor or leadership role and in decision-making processes do not necessarily have the final say on policy or strategy, particularly where overseas Governments are involved. Whilst the aerospace sector is in comparatively robust health, there is an ever-present danger of being unable to attract or educate new blood on the one hand and, on the other, contraction to a point where there is no longer a viable skills base.

Aerospace & Defence Subsectors

3
Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology

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The chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biosciences and medical supplies sector is one of the most dynamic areas of the UK manufacturing economy and builds on Britain's traditional strengths in breakthrough scientific advance and technology innovation. It has world leadership in many fields and, in the contexts of globalisation and the gathering industrial strength and low costs base of major developing countries, continues to provide the UK with a competitive edge in high value-added knowledge based products.

Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology Subsectors

Pharmaceuticals
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Biotechnology
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Medical equipment & supplies
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4
Electronic & Electrical Components and Equipment

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Despite being the largest in Europe, the UK electronics and electrical sector is undergoing significant transformation and disorder following increasingly demanding market conditions, policy and regulation. The majority of production in large volume manufacturing has moved overseas to lower-cost producer countries, with no foreseeable circumstances in which this class of manufacturing will return to the UK. Furthermore, Government plans to switch to digital terrestrial broadcasting between 2008-2012 have generated huge supply chain challenges as consumers shift towards Integrated Digital TVs, Set Top Boxes and digital recording equipment such as hard drive Personal Video Recorders. However, things aren’t all bleak, with the associated huge opportunity for manufacturers, and the UK remaining at the forefront of electronic design and innovation on a global scale, supported by a cohesive and esteemed society of university driven and independent research.

Electronic & Electrical Components and Equipment Subsectors

Electronic components & equipment
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Electrical components & equipment
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5
Energy & Utilities

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A general reduction in UK energy production is an encouraging sign in the context of concern over the environmental effects of carbon dioxide production. The UK has reached peak point of indigenous energy resources utilisation and within the foreseeable future will become a net importer rather than exporter of energy sources unless Government policy permits expansion in nuclear power generating capacity. As North Sea oil and gas runs out, the UK will have to import 80% of its energy requirements from countries such as Algeria and Iran. It is legitimate to question the security of supply, the risk of being held to ransom and the strategic economic consequences.

Energy & Utilities Subsectors

6
Engineering, Materials Processing and Diversified Industrials

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Despite being more exposed than any other sector of UK business to lower overseas labour costs and exchange rate fluctuations, manufacturing accounts for 6% of turnover and over 13% of exports. The sector’s comparative efficiency reflects forced moves since the 1980s to seek higher value, higher technology opportunities and a steady retreat from many manufacturing and engineering categories. UK paper mills produce hundreds of different grades of paper and board, which are converted into a wide range of products for use in industry, commerce, education, communications, distribution and in the home, together with a host of speciality papers for industrial use. The UK printing industry is one of the largest of the UK's manufacturing industries, serving all sectors of the economy. Its structure reflects the diversity of its products and fragmented nature of its market.

Engineering, Materials Processing and Diversified Industrials Subsectors

Engineering / machinery (not vehicles)
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Materials processing including metal
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Diversified Industrials
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Packaging and printing
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7
Retail Banking & Consumer Financial Services

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Whilst the UK has been performing better than other major European economies, organisations in the sector are likely to suffer the knock-on effects of unsustainable levels of consumer credit, the risks of an overheating housing market, the relentless nature of technology-driven change and, added to these, a regulatory environment aimed at preventing Enron and WorldCom type scandals and incautious selling of financial products such as endowment-linked mortgages.

Retail Banking & Consumer Financial Services Subsectors

Retail banks and building societies
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Financial services and accountants
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Investment companies / banks / funds
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8
Speciality Finance

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The UK economy houses a conservative regulatory environment aimed at preventing Enron and WorldCom type scandals and incautious selling of financial products such as endowment-linked mortgages, but is in a healthy state with rising house prices, falling retail prices and declining unemployment. Consequently, despite the UK performing better than other major European economies, organisations in the sector are likely to suffer the knock-on effects of the continual technology-driven change and the risks of an peaking housing market. Meanwhile, consumer credit is expected to increase at a reduced rate of growth and the sterling is expected to remain strong since base rates are substantial higher than those of other leading economies, although low in UK terms.

Speciality Finance Subsectors

Asset managers
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Investment banks / companies
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Mortgage finance / commercial lending
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Other financial
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9
Insurance & Assurance

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The UK insurance industry is an important contributor to the economy, a major employer and a significant source of overseas earnings. It helps businesses to protect themselves from risk and provides a wide range of services to the general public, from pensions to car and house insurance. The insurance industry has always been a significant contributor to the UK's net exports, but perhaps in the past has not always been recognised as such. It has overtaken banking to become the largest contributor to the UK's financial sector net exports.

Insurance & Assurance Subsectors

Insurance brokers
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Insurance - Non Life
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Other insurance
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Life Assurance
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10
Food & Beverages

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The UK is a world leader in added value food and drink production and marketing. British food and drink companies have an excellent reputation for producing a wide range of high quality, innovative products, and overseas buyers especially recognise the expertise and experience of UK manufacturers and retailers in developing, producing and marketing chilled, added value and convenience products. Deficient management causing employees to spend time on activities that do not add value is identified as the reason for the food and beverage industry being the UK’s least productive major industry sector. IT related problems were identified as being one of the most significant problem areas. Other reasons for underperformance include ineffective communication and poor working morale.

Food & Beverages Subsectors

Agriculture & fisheries
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11
Private Health Care & Voluntary

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While one of the smallest sectors in the UK, the private health care and voluntary sector is one of the most stable, supported as it is by the NHS. Consequently, the sector responds significantly to changes in the NHS. Furthermore, UK public healthcare is undergoing a slow and painful evolution from operation by the state to a system that in essence is one of state funding of quasi-private and private service delivery. Once the crown jewel of the British welfare state, its delivery is found wanting against continental European models that have no concept of waiting lists and are based on social insurance schemes which offer genuine choice provided through public and private alternatives. They have a history of better funding and, by many measures, offer better health outcomes. This spells huge potential for growth in the private healthcare and voluntary sector.

Private Health Care & Voluntary Subsectors

Hospitals, the community & ancillary services
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Private health care - service and suppliers
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Voluntary sector / Foundations
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12
Household Goods and Personal Care

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UK household consumer durables and disposables (including personal grooming and homecare/cleaning products) manufacturing is sensitive to fashion trends, consumer perceptions, price competitiveness and product design creativity and brand strengths. Where these are intimately linked, in fitted furniture for example, companies are better able to control their commercial destinies and secure profitable market share. Where a business produces a me-too product that has commodity status and sells essentially on price, it is highly vulnerable to imports. Labour costs and productivity are inevitably key issues and in many areas of volume produced consumer durables, from Dyson floor cleaning appliances to Royal Doulton china, manufacture in the UK is no longer viable, even with a household brand name with a high value-added profile.

Household Goods and Personal Care Subsectors

Clothing and footwear
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Furniture, furnishings, fittings, window & floor coverings
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Consumer electronics
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Leisure equipment
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Domestic appliances and Housewares
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Household products - consumables
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Personal care products and services
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13
Information Technology Hardware

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The UK computer sector is a key location for investment, and continues to outperform other European markets. The sector is a perpetual state of innovation-driven technology change against a background of growth in processing, storage and retrieval capacity demand and a propensity to falling hardware prices as soon as a new product is initially established and manufactures crank up the volume of output. The UK is one of the leading locations in Europe for telecommunications, and its liberal telecoms regime and access to leading edge technology has attracted the majority of telecommunications operators, service providers and manufacturers. The sector is undergoing its most important and enormous change in the last 100 years, as both fixed and mobile operators are making a move from circuit switched voice and data networks to an all IP network. As a result, major upgrades in networks and services have lead to large investment programmes, providing huge opportunities for UK companies to develop and deliver a wide range of new technology both at home and overseas.

Information Technology Hardware Subsectors

Computers, Networks and Peripherals
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Technology Components
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Telecommunications
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14
Information Technology Software & Services

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The IT industry in the UK is particularly strong in supplying sector specific skills. IT spending as a percentage of gross domestic product is 3.2%, and 35% of PCs manufactured in Europe are produced in the Britain. Over the last two decades the Government has opened up the telecoms market to competition, moving away from the dominance of British Telecom (BT) to new fixed and mobile operators. The result is that the UK now has one of the most open and competitive telecoms markets in the world. A further substantial step towards full deregulation took place in July 2003 with the Communications Act. This moves the UK away from a licence-based system to one where companies are operating under a general conditions of entitlement pro-competitive regulatory framework.

Information Technology Software & Services Subsectors

Telecommunication
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15
Leisure, Sports, Hotels and Restaurants

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The UK is the world’s fifth most visited overseas travel destination. The Government is investing £400 million a year of public and lottery money in sport, including £100 million on the Athens Olympics and £459m on school sport. Crucially, as well as recognising the importance of sport in promoting the pursuit of excellence, there is increased official recognition of the importance of sport and active leisure in tackling social and health problems. Leisure goods and services now account for close to 20% of all household spending, up from 11% in 1974. Sector sales are running at around £90 billion per annum. Although UK households continue to spend the highest proportion of their income on leisure goods and services, recent research suggests that the leisure and entertainment industry is being hit hardest by consumers reining in their spending.

Leisure, Sports, Hotels and Restaurants Subsectors

Sport, fitness & leisure facilities
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Hotels and accommodation services
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Pubs, clubs, gambling
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Fast food and drink, restaurants
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Other leisure and entertainment
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16
Media, Publishing & Entertainment

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The creative and media industries continue to benefit from high growth rates and expanding national global markets. The digital communications revolution and broadband internet are creating new global markets, multiplying outlets and increasing consumer demand. As incomes and literacy levels rise throughout the developing world, so does the audience for English language content and consumers of British innovation and design. The UK advertising industry in recent years has seen considerable change, with accounts becoming increasingly global and major clients pursuing centralisation strategies while the industry consolidates. In a similar vein, publishing is more than ever a global business with the use of English as the first or second language in many areas of the world.

Media, Publishing & Entertainment Subsectors

TV & radio, film, video & events
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Publishing - online and print media
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Music production and publishing
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17
Property, Land and Construction

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The UK construction services and building material sector is one of the UK’s major industries. Construction activity itself contributes around 10% of GDP. Ranking second in Europe, with 15.3% of output, and fifth in the world with over 250000 firms and 2.1 million employees, the sector is a major supplier to key Government investment programmes such as hospitals and infrastructure. The industry has been enjoying a period of growth from strong upward trend in commercial construction projects as well as public sector contracts. British Standards and Codes are internationally recognised and form the basis of construction standards and practice in many countries.

Property, Land and Construction Subsectors

Property construction
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Construction materials- Producers / Merchants
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Infrastructure / civil engineering
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Architects / estate agents/ surveyors
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Other property / construction services
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Land holding and development
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Land and property investment trusts
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Environment & Sanitation
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18
Public Sector Key Suppliers

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This report covers all public services except the NHS and non-Governmental state-funded organisations, the activities of which are covered in other sector reports included in this series. The basic Government policy objectives framing the activities of public sector agencies are: maintaining a stable economy; promoting productivity and enterprise; building a fairer society including removing child poverty; delivering high employment and making work pay; delivering high quality public services; protecting the environment. Massive expansion and reform programmes implemented by the Government have been a contributory factor in insulating the UK from economic downturns experienced in countries in mainland Europe and elsewhere. There is however widespread concern that investments have yet to deliver improvements promised and that state machinery is top heavy with bureaucracy. Since the other main props are the UK economy at the present time are retail spending – with its voracious appetite for credit card debt and imported consumer goods – and house prices that are rising at a rate generally considered to be unsustainable, there are obvious concerns over the effects that an economic downturn would have on the financing of current and planned Government expenditure.

Public Sector Key Suppliers Subsectors

Educational / Employment
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Administration / IR / C&E
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Defence / Security / Police
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Local government
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Business services
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Heritage & the arts
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Other public sector bodies
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19
Retailing & Wholesaling

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The UK clothing and textile products manufacturing sector extends from fashion apparel, footwear, leather goods and accessories and hosiery to areas as diverse as tents, tarpaulins, sails, protective wear, wet/dry suits, medical garments, automotive components, design, handcraft tailoring, kilt making and Saville Row tailoring. Shopping centres have increased in importance at the expense of traditional high street shopping centres. Town centre management schemes have to a certain extent limited the decline of some high streets, though these often include a covered multiple outlet shopping centre annexe, which helps to manage the growing differential between the planned centre and traditional high street shops and find alternative uses for redundant space.

Retailing & Wholesaling Subsectors

Supermarkets, mixed retailing, discount outlets
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Furnishing and DIY
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Food and beverages
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Electrical and electronic
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Clothing and footwear
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Motor services, including vehicle rental
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Newsagents, books, music, video
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Health, beauty, personal care, eyecare
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Mail-order, catalogue, auction services
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Travel services
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Energy services
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20
Support Services

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The UK professional support services sector is confronted by challenges from a range of different directions. The sector spans legal, recruitment and other services including support, management consultancy. By a broader definition, although not within the scope of this report, outsourcing and support services spreads into the outsourced provision of facilities and operational management of non-core activity to private companies, utilities, public infrastructure agencies, central and local government, hospitals and health authorities, education and the Ministry of Defence. A basic premise of the sector is the delivery of expertise and professional skills in a manner that reduces costs to a level below the expenditure that would be required if the tasks were handled entirely in-house.

Support Services Subsectors

Legal services
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HR services including recruitment
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Advertising, marketing / PR
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Other professional advisors & consultancy
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Non financial business services
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Education and business training
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Consumer support services
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Security services
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Hospitality and Catering services
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Cleaning and laundry
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21
Transport & Storage

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The transport sector is an area of the economy showing particularly good signs of strength. Long-haul air travel is beginning to recover from the 9/11 aftershock, even bus travel increased by 1% last year, reversing years of decline. Whilst massive investments are being made to improve transport infrastructure, the work itself adds to transport and travel costs through congestion, delays and disruption. Legislation is also forcing up costs in many areas, presenting challenges to operators that demand investment based on changes in thinking and approach. Responses to this take many forms, the rapid expansion of low cost, no frills airlines being a prime example.

Transport & Storage Subsectors

Transit (includes ports, airports, stations)
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22
Vehicles & Components (not Aerospace)

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The UK's road vehicles, marine construction and aerospace industries make major contributions to the national economy but in many areas are vulnerable to global factors. Apart from labour costs that are only overcome by investing in higher productivity and higher added value technologies, these sectors are exposed to recessionary pressures in a number of international markets and, in the context of UK PLC, in the motor industry in particular, foreign ownership of key manufacturing assets means strategic decisions are made outside the UK. Whilst the automotive and aerospace sectors are in comparatively robust health, there is an ever-present danger of being unable to attract or educate new blood on the one hand and, on the other, contraction to a point where there is no longer a viable skills base.

Vehicles & Components (not Aerospace) Subsectors

Components and equipment
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Tyres and rubber
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Vehicle distributors
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