SCOTTISH engineers have suffered a further sharp slide in UK and export order intake in the latest quarter, amid continuing Brexit uncertainty, a key survey has revealed.

The rate of increase in employment in the sector meanwhile slowed, according to the survey published today by Scottish Engineering. However, there was renewed growth in output volumes.

Subtracting the proportion posting a rise from that recording a drop, a net 11% of Scottish engineering firms reported a fall in overall order intake in the latest quarter.

A balance of 16% posted a decline in orders from within the UK. A net 15% recorded a fall in export orders, marking an acceleration of the rate of decline of incoming overseas business.

Scottish Engineering said: “These negative impacts are widely held to be the result of continuing Brexit uncertainty, and reflect a falling confidence for successful resolution.”

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Paul Sheerin, chief executive of industry body Scottish Engineering, said of Brexit: “When we look across our community of engineering manufacturing, I would urge patience that we seek the right deal, not the fastest one.”

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He added: “A transition agreement is just that, and the current deal on the table for the UK leaves a very short window in transition before a full trading agreement is slated to be in place. The political declaration which accompanies the current transition agreement is noticeably absent of the language of ‘frictionless trade’ or ‘closest possible alignment’ and leads to concern for divergence on regulatory alignment.”

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Mr Sheerin urged engineers to keep working to tackle current and future skills shortages.

He said: “I’d urge that despite the uncertainty and probable bumps in the road coming our way, maintain your commitment shown in this report to the actions that seed the future talent pipeline our industry will need. Invest in the foundation, modern and graduate apprentices as you have done, more if you can, and try to continue to say yes to work experience and student summer placements.”