The UK’s plastics and rubber sectors have remained prime forces in helping to maintain manufacturing’s momentum, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).The ONS said production output rose by 3% in April compared with the same month in 2013, while manufacturing was up 4%, the fastest rate of expansion since 2011.
Within this manufacturing figure the main contributors were rubber, plastic and other non-metallic mineral products, transport equipment, food products, beverages and tobacco.
Last month the ONS said plastics and rubber manufacturing had helped boost the economy’s fortunes in the first three months of the year.
The ONS said manufacturing output also rose by 0.4% between March and April this year.
“Production and manufacturing are currently 11.3% and 7% respectively below the pre-downturn GDP peak reached in the first quarter of 2008,” the ONS added.
Commenting on the ONS data David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “These figures reaffirm our recent economic forecast that GDP will grow by 0.8% in the second quarter of 2014.
“While the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the overall economy remains relatively modest, it is pleasing to see that its annual growth is in excess of 4%, somewhat higher than that of the total economy.
“The government must keep boosting efforts to support UK exporters and improve access to finance for growing firms.”