EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, comments on the Chancellor’s conference speech given today.
Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF, says: “The Chancellor has made it clear that protecting and building the economy will remain his central focus through the election and beyond. We welcome this and industry will not be alone in applauding – eight in ten consumers polled by EEF support this too.
“There was no mention of EU membership, but he did talk about the importance of attracting businesses and investment. The two go hand in hand.
“He also signalled that spending cuts will continue to do the heavy-lifting on deficit reduction. This is good news, but he must ensure that the Government implements these in such a way that we continue to maintain momentum on new technology, innovation and infrastructure as these will shore up the UK’s competitiveness. There has been too much talk and not enough action on vital infrastructure projects – it is holding back business and our economy and we welcome the fact that he recognises that it is now time to get on and deliver. We also welcome his ambitions regarding supporting 3 million apprenticeships for young people. It is vital, however, that high standards are maintained and that this target does not serve to dilute the apprenticeship brand.
“Above all, it is clear that the Chancellor wants to steer the economy into safer, more settled waters. A strong rebalanced economy is the right end goal and manufacturing has a key role to play – 85% of voters want to see the next Government promote a stronger manufacturing base and 63% want to see Britain enjoying a better-balanced economy. The Chancellor talked about the big questions facing the UK today - a strong, vibrant and dynamic manufacturing sector and remaining in the EU are fundamental parts of the solution.”