Cutting through all the announcements today, manufacturers will be honing in to find answers to the following questions as part of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement. Will the outcomes help to boost productivity and reduce the cost of doing business?
Productivity enhancing measures
The government has a stated aim of boosting productivity in the UK. For manufacturers the following measures will help to secure and boost the already high levels of productivity in the sector.
1. What will be happening to the Innovate UK budget?
Manufacturers will be looking for the budget for Innovate UK to be maintained along with stability in the overall support landscape to support manufacturers investing in innovation
2. What does the future look like for UKTI?
Similarly, front line support for UK exporters is important for UK exporters, maintaining this will allow us to move closer to the government's own target of £1 trillion in exports
3. Do we really have certainty around roads funding?
Roads are a crucial transport network for manufacturers, ensuring the Road Investment Strategy and local road maintenance capital allocations are kept in place, will allow important road upgrades to go ahead
4. What will the apprenticeship levy look like?
Paving the way for a boost in both the quality AND quantity of people in apprenticeships, by balancing costs with a focus on high quality training provision is a priority for the manufacturing sector.
Reducing the cost of doing business
Cost base matters, particularly for volume manufacturers operating across multiple countries. In those scenarios the cost base can fluctuate significantly between countries with the UK often being seen as a poor choice to make the next investment.
Anchoring large scale manufacturers in the UK is important to secure the jobs and supply chain benefits that come with it. In this area several costs are brought about by government policy, and should be changed.
5. Will energy intensive manufacturers be compensated from government energy taxes?
Manufacturers will be looking for commitment from the government to the introduction of energy intensive compensation measures and the confirmation of the budget out to 2020
6. Will reform of business rates move it back to being a property based tax as it is elsewhere in Europe?
Manufacturers in most sectors, including steel, will be looking for the government to remove plant and machinery from rateable value calculations
7. Will the incentive to save for a pension remain?
Given the ambition to get more people saving for pensions, manufacturers will expect the government to not alter the current taxation basis for pensions. The removal of pension relief would be an unbudgeted, substantial and additional business cost undermining the amount businesses pay in to pension schemes
Not long to wait…