But this is being balanced out by inflationary pressures such as wages and the impact of exchange rates on raw material costs, as well as rising business rates.

The Q4 2016 survey shows a balance of 26% of joinery companies reported an increase in sales volumes for the period compared to the previous quarter. This follows on from 55% of joinery companies reporting an increase in sales volumes in Q3 2016 (compared to Q2 2016).

Manufacturers felt that sales volumes would improve in Q1 2017, with a balance of 34% predicting an increase in the period and a balance of 22% predicting an increase over the next year.

Some 19% of companies reported a current order book of future work extending beyond three months – down 9% from the previous quarter – with 58% now saying that their order book extended from between one and three months.

A balance of 20% of respondents reported that business rates for their current property would increase as a result of recent business rates revaluations in England & Wales with 32% of respondents indicating that their rates would increase by over 5%.

BWF policy & communications executive Matt Mahony said it was concerning that almost a third of respondents indicated an incoming business rates increase of over 5%.

“There are undoubtedly companies that will benefit from the changes, but on balance our industry looks to be getting a bad deal from the revaluations – this is especially galling as we have long campaigned for low energy manufacturers to be incentivised and it makes no sense to include plant and machinery in rateable value when trying to drive investment and job creation,” said Mr Mahony.

He said the surveys showed a stable but by no means easy quarter in Q4 for the woodworking industry.

“Realistically it’s not a bad picture at this point of time, although uncertainty over the impact of Brexit continues to linger in the background as it has been for the last couple of quarters.”