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Rising energy prices, the impact of life after the EU and labour shortages continue to be the main challenges facing the UK metals sector according to a new report released September 13 from the UK Metals Council.

The UK Metals Council recently released a report highlighting the key challenges facing the UK metals sector, including rising energy prices, the aftermath of Brexit, and labor shortages. According to the report, nearly a quarter of firms surveyed have adjusted their supply chain strategies or sought alternative sourcing due to these challenges. Additionally, just under a third of businesses are seeking enhanced government support to navigate trade barriers and customs procedures post-Brexit.

Energy costs are a significant concern, with 22% of manufacturers seeking improved energy supply contracts to lower prices. Moreover, only 31% of businesses report having an effective recruitment strategy to address labor shortages in the sector. Despite these challenges, the report also reveals a sense of optimism among respondents, with 70% expressing optimism or very optimism about future business prospects.

Rachel Eade MBE, Chair of the UK Metals Council, emphasized the importance of the metals sector in daily life, highlighting its role in various industries such as transportation, healthcare, and manufacturing. She stressed the need to value metals more, especially as the economy moves towards a Net Zero future.

Eade highlighted the significance of the report in providing a voice for the metals sector and informing government policy and support. The report, based on input from primes, metal producers, and supply chain participants, addresses a range of issues, from Brexit-related disruptions to energy costs and skills shortages.

The UK Metals Council, comprising 12 trade associations across the metals supply chain, represents over 11,000 companies employing nearly one million people directly and indirectly. The State of the Metals Industry in the UK Report aims to provide insights into the opportunities and challenges facing the sector, guiding future policy decisions and supporting sustainable growth.

Lord Rupert Redesdale, Chair of UK Metals Expo, emphasized the importance of a robust domestic metals supply chain in achieving objectives related to energy efficiency, circular economy practices, and sustainable advancement. The report’s findings will be shared with the government to inform policymaking and support, while also serving as a resource for sector specialists, companies, and academia.