The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) says more must be done to support the country’s struggling manufacturing industry.
Figures published on Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) highlighted the pressures facing the sector.
Manufacturing output in December 2015 was down 0.2 per cent on the month and 1.7 per cent on the year.
Total industrial production was also down, dropping 1.1 per cent on the month and 0.4 per cent on the year.
BCC chief economist, David Kern, said: “As the manufacturing sector continues to struggle in the face of challenges at home and abroad, the further declines in manufacturing and total industrial production recorded in December were unsurprising.
“While our increasing reliance on a vibrant services sector means that the UK economy as a whole is likely to continue growing, our manufacturing sector is still critical to the wellbeing of the economy in key areas such as exports, innovation and productivity.
“Greater efforts are needed to support manufacturers as they compete in the face of difficult global economic headwinds.”