A new report by EEF, the manufacturers' organization, warns the UK Government to act over escalating risks to the UK's supply of essential materials. It says that the global growth in middle-class consumers, increased demand for all commodities and an over-reliance on China for strategic supplies, is leaving the UK vulnerable. But, while other manufacturing nations have strategies in place to shield their economies from resource risks, the UK is lagging behind.
The report ‘Materials for Manufacturing: Safeguarding Supply’ digs behind concerns raised by UK manufacturers that volatile material prices and security of supply pose a threat to growth and confirms that the UK does indeed face escalating risks.
Globally, the consuming middle classes are expected to swell from 1.8 billion people to 4.9 billion by 2030. Demand for all commodities is expected to rocket by 30 to 80 percent by 2030. However, the UK's supply of essential materials – ranging from silicon metal and rare earth elements through to coking coal - is concentrated. China is the leading supplier of materials to the UK, producing 22 of 38 elements of strategic economic value. These are minerals and metals that are vital to British manufacturing.