Investment Guest Blogs: Paul Everitt, SMMT

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This blog forms part of a series of guest blogs on investment. You can follow the debate on twitter with the hashtag #bizinv

Paul Everitt is Chief Executive of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

You can follow his tweets via @PaulEverittSMMT

As the Chancellor puts the finishing touches to his 2012 autumn statement he will be well aware of the heightened sense of expectation running through the business community. Economic growth and strengthening domestic demand are the priorities and we are all looking to the Chancellor to deliver a mix of measures to boost consumer confidence and help trigger private sector investment.

The automotive industry has weathered the financial crisis and recession better than many sectors and has seen close to £6billion of investment committed to UK facilities, model programmes and R&D during the last two years. Maintaining this momentum and ensuring the UK remains a competitive location for high value automotive activities are at the heart of SMMT's programme.

Earlier this year the Chancellor confirmed the UK tax credit regime would change to an above-the-line system creating a better incentive for this important activity. We would like the Chancellor to use the Autumn Statement to signal a 2013 start date for the new regime and a competitive headline rate. This would help encourage companies to bring more R&D activity to the UK and get them spending sooner.

This R&D incentive could be further enhanced by the establishment of an advanced propulsion centre of excellence to help co-ordinate private and public sector investment in the low carbon technologies that will underpin future vehicle development.

Taking a leading role in the transition to low carbon vehicles is a key part of our industrial strategy and we are already have an excellent set of consumer and market incentives for the most advanced vehicles. The next step is to provide greater certainty beyond 2015 and the Chancellor could do this by committing to retain the Plug-In Car and Van grants through to 2017 and to revise planned changes to company car taxation and capital allowances to ensure they support the growth of the ultra low carbon vehicle market.

The combination of R&D support, a centre of excellence, a flourishing early market and a public commitment to low carbon vehicles from the Chancellor will help ensure the UK continues to be the market of choice for global vehicle manufacturers.

The Regional Growth Fund and the recent advanced manufacturing supply chain initiative have provided valuable support to a wide range of manufacturing businesses. If we are to rebalance our economy and promote globally competitive supply chains these funding regimes must become more secure and longer-term. The Chancellor could give a boost to all those in manufacturing by signalling that these important funding regimes will be retained through the life of this Parliament.

Strengthening the supply chain and leading the transition to ultra low carbon vehicles will help generate jobs and prosperity for the long-term. Good for business, good for employment and good for the environment.

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Please note: these blogs contain the views of the author and are not necessarily those of EEF

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