The Aluminium Industry in the UK

The aluminium industry is a vital part of the UK manufacturing sector. The strategic importance of this lightweight and highly recyclable metal looks set to increase as the UK economy moves towards more sustainable and circular models of production and consumption.

For the purposes of statistics, industries are defined using Standard Industrial Classification codes (SIC). Aluminium production, which is classified under SIC 24.42, can be considered as the narrowest definition of the aluminium industry. SIC 24.42 includes the production of aluminium but does not include the many manufactured aluminium products. This report departs from that narrow definition and considers the ‘wider aluminium industry’, which we define to be the production of aluminium e.g., rods, bars, and pipes but also aluminium products such as casks, drums, cans, boxes, prefabricated buildings, doors, windows, and wheels which do not fall under the narrow definition of aluminium production.

Economic indicators for the wider aluminium industry

  • The wider aluminium industry directly employs 37,000 people across the UK, with the largest share of those employed being located in the West Midlands.
  • The wider aluminium industry contributes around £2.97 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA)to the UK economy.

Economic impact of the wider aluminium industry

The wider aluminium industry is closely tied to many other parts of the UK economy. The production and manufacturing of aluminium goods requires purchasing from suppliers which supports output and employment across the UK. Our economic model of the UK has been used to estimate the amount of economic activity supported directly and through spill-over impacts by the wider aluminium industry, we find the wider aluminium industry supports:

  • The employment of 97,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in the across the UK
  • The contribution of £6.8 billion in GVA

This report was written by Jack Williamson, who joined the Fraser of Allander Institute during summer 2021 as a part of the Economic Futures work placement programme. We produced this report in partnership with the Aluminium Federation UK, whose insight was invaluable.


Jack is an economist at the Fraser of Allander Institute.

Mairi is the Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute. Previously, she was the Deputy Chief Executive of the Scottish Fiscal Commission and the Head of National Accounts at the Scottish Government and has over a decade of experience working in different areas of statistics and analysis.

James is a Fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute. He specialises in economic policy, modelling, trade and climate change. His work includes the production of economic statistics to improve our understanding of the economy, economic modelling and analysis to enhance the use of these statistics for policymaking, data visualisation to communicate results impactfully, and economic policy to understand how data can be used to drive decisions in Government.