Here are this week’s favourite stories across tech and finance from our Head of PR, Bilal Mahmood. Happy reading!

Manufacturing continues to grow

ONS data shows October saw a sixth consecutive month of expansion for Britain’s manufacturing industry, with growth of 0.1% compared to September. It’s the longest unbroken expansion of its kind for at least 20 years. The figures were boosted by higher production levels from British carmakers on the back of increased export orders in recent weeks. Read more

UK is biggest EU services exporter

Figures from Eurostat show the UK is the single biggest exporter of services in the EU, accounting for more than a fifth of the services sold by the trading bloc. Services worth €183bn (£161bn) were exported by the UK in 2016, equivalent to 22.3% of the services exported by the EU to non-member countries. The UK is also the third biggest importer of services. Read more

P2P accounts for 15% of SME lending

British Banking Association data suggests that peer-to-peer business lending platforms now account for 15% of all new loans made by UK banks to small businesses. Meanwhile, a report from Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance attributes the greatest market share to peer-to-peer business lending, growing by 36% to £1.23bn in 2016. Read more

SMEs consult accountants for digital tax advice

Research by HMRC shows the majority of small businesses and landlords expect to consult an accountant for support in meeting the requirements of digital reporting under Making Tax Digital. Taxpayers wanted guidance on how to prepare for the new requirements (cited by 40%), while 18% wanted reassurances that they were carrying out requirements correctly and 16% wanted guidance on using software. Read more

Businesses struggling to recruit after employment boom

Britain’s businesses are struggling to find new workers, after the UK’s dramatic fall in unemployment slashed the pool of potential staff. Unemployment fell by 26,000 in the three months to October, dipping to 1.4m. Meanwhile, wage growth has fallen behind inflation for a seventh month in a row. Weekly wages rose by 2.3% in the three months to October, below inflation at 3%. Read more