The current small-scale manufacturing sentiment in the UK is a negative one, according to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Its survey among small and medium-sized companies in the sector found 28 per cent of them had seen orders falling in the three months to July, compared with 23 per cent enjoying a rise.
This negative balance of five per cent was the first fall since the 14 per cent negative balance of October 2009.
Falling exports were a key element of the downward trend, with these down by four per cent, compared with a two per cent rise in domestic orders. Both are expected by drop in the next three months by 12 per cent and five per cent respectively.
Optimism is also in short supply, with a negative balance of 13 per cent.
All this may suggest that many manufacturers will be forced to lay off staff or revert to shorter hours, meaning employees will either lose their paid income altogether or see it significantly reduced.
Either outcome could make it far harder for those who have debts to meet their monthly repayments. This could leave some with a spiralling problem that soon gets out of control as the amount they owe increases, arrears grow and the means to close the gap are not there.
In such circumstances, many will fail to understand the nature of a debt problem and be unsympathetic. But those who seek the right advice and help will find experts who realise how such situations can develop are able to suggest a number of solutions.
These can vary from debt management solutions to insolvency in the most extreme cases, the latter often meaning an individual voluntary arrangement or bankruptcy.
However, the latter situation can be avoided if those struggling with debt act fast and seek help early.
Responding to the CBI survey, shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna claimed the government should "change course and put in place an effective strategy to support jobs and private sector business growth".
Posted by Paul Thacker