MANUFACTURING contributes more to the UK economy than previously thought, according to new research.

At £208 billion, the sector’s contribution is 3.3 per cent higher than the figures usually quoted by the Office for National Statistics, according to Cranfield University.

Its ‘enhanced manufacturing growth index’ includes the impact of activities such as product design and ongoing customer service support – as well as production – to reflect “21st Century manufacturing practices.”

“After traditionally focusing solely on physical production, the business models of many UK manufacturers have evolved in recent years to include a range of other activities,” said Zach Witton, deputy chief economist for the EEF, the industry body for engineering and manufacturing employers, which has validated the research.