The products and technologies of the chemical industry are used in vital medicines and foods, the construction of buildings, transport, leisure and many other aspects of our daily lives.

In industrial terms, the chemical industry performs essential steps in converting raw materials (animal, vegetable or mineral) into usable products. These encompass an enormous variety – from plastics to paints, from fertilisers to shampoos, from synthetic rubber to pharmaceuticals. These items then form part of other value chains – such as automotive, aerospace, construction – or are supplied direct to households.

  • The chemical and pharmaceutical industry adds £18 billion of value to the UK economy every year from total annual turnover of £50 billion.
  • In addition to gross value added, the sector also contributes to the UK economy in its position at the head of many supply chains within manufacturing and its employment of a well remunerated, high-skilled workforce. We support 500,000 jobs both directly and indirectly Chemical manufacturing adds £9 billion in gross value added annually and pharmaceutical manufacturing £9 billion.
  • The wider chemical and pharmaceutical sector (manufacturing plus distribution) is the largest exporter of manufactured goods with annual exports of over £50 billion. The export of motor vehicle, trailers and semi-trailers is the sector with next highest exports of £35 billion. Aerospace is £32 billion.
  • 63% of companies in the sector export what they make to the world, the highest proportion of any goods manufacturing sector in the UK economy. 60% of our exports go to the European Union and 75% of our imports and raw materials come from the European Union.
  • The sector’s level of business investment is £4.3 billion, compared to automotive £2.7 billion and aerospace £2.1 billion, while the expenditure on research & development is £5.0 billion (automotive £2.7 billion and aerospace £2.1 billion).
  • The products and technologies of the Chemical industry are essential parts of medicines, food & drink, telecommunications, energy-saving, I.T, clothing and much more.
  • For every tonne of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emitted, our products and technologies enable over 2 tonnes of GHG emissions savings.

Chemical and pharmaceutical businesses in the UK contribute £75 million of Added Value every single working day (£20 billion a year) to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product. The industry’s trade balance is a positive £25 million every day, whilst the rest of manufacturing has a daily deficit of around £300 million. The industry is the nation’s number one manufacturing exporter.

500,000 UK jobs depend on the work of chemical and pharmaceutical businesses in our country.

Those businesses:

  • contribute 80 million pounds every day to the UK economy
  • spend 5 billion pounds each year on research and development
  • invest 2 billion pounds a year in capital expenditure
  • are the UK’s number one manufacturing exporter

We want to grow this contribution through the work of the Partnership.

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