The state of UK manufacturing was laid bare today with new figures suggesting the country could be heading towards a third recession and its triple-A credit rating is under threat.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the seasonally adjusted production index fell by 3% in October, compared with the same month last year.
And the manufacturing index slid by 2.1% in the same month.
The ONS said manufacture of plastics and rubber products in the UK fell by 9.2%, while chemicals and chemical products manufacturing dipped 9.4%.
The figures mean that factory output is at its lowest since June this year.
Alan Clarke, an economist at Scotiabank told the Reuters news agency: “Very disappointing; triple dip here we come.
"Manufacturing was diabolical. Sadly, I think there is not a lot to suggest that it is temporary,” he added.
Chris Williamson, an economist at research outfit Markit, expressed concern that “any new [economic] downturn will ... put further pressure on the UK's triple-A credit rating”.
The ONS data came as the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that a further £27bn-worth of cuts to public spending would be required in the coming years if other areas, such as the NHS and schools, were to have spending maintained in real terms.