Britain’s factories are laying off workers at the fastest rate in seven years as manufacturing remains in the doldrums amid political and economic turmoil. Employment in the sector fell for the eighth month in a row and the pace of job losses was the steepest since September 2012 as manufacturers sought to reduce their costs. Factories cut their output at a faster rate than previously as they ran down stocks they had built up before the 31 October Brexit deadline. In the eurozone, manufacturing activity declined for the 10th month in a row
New orders fell for the seventh consecutive month, reflecting tougher conditions in the UK and overseas. The drop in new export orders was among the steepest of the past seven years.
Rob Dobson, a director at IHS Markit, said: “November saw UK manufacturers squeezed between a rock and hard place as the uncertainty created by a further delay to Brexit was accompanied by growing paralysis ahead of the forthcoming general election. Destocking at manufacturers and their clients following the latest Brexit delay was a major contributor to the weakness experienced by the sector. Inflationary pressures meanwhile showed signs of moderating further, with input costs falling slightly for the first time since March 2016.” This was linked to lower global commodity prices and exchange rate effects.
Disabled people continue to face prejudice in the workplace campaigners have said, after latest government figures showed they were paid on average 12.2% less than those without impairments, equivalent to £1.48 an hour.
According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, the median pay for disabled employees in 2018 was £10.63 an hour, compared with £12.11 an hour for their non-disabled counterparts. The disability pay gap was widest for people classified as having a mental impairment – defined by the ONS as depression and anxiety, mental illness, nervous disorder, epilepsy or learning disability – who earned an average of £9.82 a hour. People with a physical impairment faced a pay gap of 9.7% (earning £10.90 per hour) while those with other impairments – defined as including cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis – faced the narrowest gap, at 7.4% (£11.18 per hour). The highest pay gap was in London, where disabled employees were paid 15.3% less than non-disabled employees, while the narrowest was in Scotland, at 8.3%
James Taylor, head of policy and public affairs at the disability equality charity Scope, said: “The disability pay gap is a damning symptom of disabled people being hindered in the world of work. Plenty of things stack up against disabled people to prevent them from getting into, staying in and progressing in employment. Sometimes it’s negative attitudes and assumptions, or a lack of reasonable adjustments that hold disabled people back. Sometimes it’s a simple lack of understanding or knowhow from employers."
Jill Miller of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said: “Too many disabled people continue to face prejudice and struggle to get into employment or to remain in work, and are less likely to progress to senior management roles or to work in professional occupations."