SOUTH West manufacturers are “heading for recession” as they enter autumn amid Brexit uncertainty, a survey suggests.

The Q3 Manufacturing Outlook survey, published by Make UK and business advisory firm BDO LLP, says output has remained positive but orders have contracted by a net balance of seven per cent.

That would fit the national picture, after the first half of the year was boosted by artificial stockpiling reaching record levels.

Export orders also fell in the region, after the first half of the year was boosted by stockpiling ahead of the original scheduled date for departure from the European Union.

Jim Davison, region director at Make UK in the West, said: “Industry is facing a perfect storm of factors, compounded by a hard Brexit which could not be coming at a worse possible time.

“In normal circumstances a global slowdown on its own would be enough, but add trade wars and the biggest shock to our economy since the war and there seems little doubt that, barring a remarkable turnaround, the sector is heading for recession,” he added.

Matthew Sewell, head of manufacturing at BDO in the South West, said: “Global competition, skills shortages, lack of a coherent industrial strategy from government and continuing technological disruption has made UK manufacturing a challenging sector for decades. The long shadow cast by the possibilities of a no deal Brexit and the uncertainty of recent months has only added to the difficulties for manufacturers in the South West.”