2014 saw a healthy growth across the sectors, regions and nations that make up the UK, providing evidence of a broad-based economic recovery.
In November, it was reported that Britain had recently solidified its position as one of the fastest growing economies in the industrial world with a third quarter growth of 0.7 per cent.
The news followed on from the confirmation in August that UK manufacturing output was up 3.9%, compared with the previous year. Construction output was up 2.6% on the same time last year.
On top of that, unemployment, a key indicator of how the economy is performing, fell to 6.2% in July compared to 7.7% the year before, with the number of people in employment increasing by 774,000 compared to the same time in 2013.
All in all, there were positive signs in 2014 despite the normal concerns across the manufacturing industry.
Below is a summary of some of the key points made in a recent article by The Week.
So what does 2015 hold in store?
First, it has to be said, that political uncertainties surrounding the upcoming general election could potentially hold UK businesses back from investing in 2015.
On top of that, experts suggest growth across the UK could be impacted by concerns surrounding EU economies and the conflict in Ukraine.
Some analysts believe that expanding into markets outside of Europe actually presents an opportunity for many businesses who may build on their European trade, adding partners in fast-growing markets such as Asia and Africa.
Mike Daniels, Co-Head of London, Corporate Banking, Barclays recently said; “We are still working with traditional European trade hubs, and of course we can’t forget the US. I don’t see that going away but there is another story to tell; we are not going to swap one country for another, but we will see new countries with which we do business increasing their share. For example China and Africa – both are hugely important to UK trade going forward.”
Across the board growth
There has been growth across a broad range of industries in most major regions around the country. Much of the growth in the UK is coming from London. That said, the economic resurgence does not start and end in the capital.
Daniels identifies a broad range of industries that have contributed to the nation’s economic growth.
He claims that manufacturing and transport are crucial for the economy due to their close links with the UK’s GDP.
Food and drink is beginning to thrive as businesses bring production that has been being carried out elsewhere back to the UK. Aerospace is in a period of huge growth whilst in the automotive sector, the number of units being produced at the moment has never been higher.
So what is the common thread that links the more successful industries and regions across the UK and what do businesses need to do in 2015 to maintain their positive momentum?
According to Daniels, businesses that have done well in 2014 and will continue to profit in the year ahead will be “those that are putting the customer first and using data properly to deeply understand the customer experience.
On top of this, being agile is essential. Businesses can’t afford to rest on their laurels and dine out on their success in 2014.
He said; “Cashflow transparency is also critical. And the biggest thing for most companies remains keeping on top of technology and innovation. You ignore advances in tech and social media at your own peril.”