9 things manufacturers want to hear on 25th November

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Next week the Chancellor will make a bumper crop of announcements as part of the Government’s Autumn Statement/Spending Review round up. You can read EEF’s press release on our submissions here.  But in this blog we set out what the Chancellor might say if manufactures had a hand in penning his speech.

 

  1. The UK economy may be roaring ahead, but some parts of industry are experiencing tougher trading conditions. Manufacturing output has fallen in each quarter so far this year, but the sector remains an important part of the UK’s growth mix in the long term. Manufacturing also has a big part to play in upping the UK’s productivity game. The government’s priority is a business environment that is good for investment, innovation and exports.

  2. Government gets that it has a role to play in ensuring that great ideas make it through to commercialisation and production in the UK. For much of the past decade the UK has been taking one step after another to make the UK a great place to innovate with efforts to improve the tax system for R&D and join up businesses with the science base. Those steps will continue with a promise to maintain the budget for Innovate UK.

  3. Inventing it and making it isn’t enough. UK companies also need to sell their goods and services globally. Growth in world trade volumes has slowed which means competition to win global business is heating up. World class export support can make a huge difference to the speed of success. Front line support for UK exporters will remain in tact in this parliament.

  4. Accessing customers all over the world is about more than making contacts and having the right intelligence on the ground. UK businesses need to be cost competitive too. This means that government will progress its deficit reduction plan without adding to the cost burden on business.  Any changes to pensions or energy taxation, for example, will proceed in consultation with businesses and provide certainty and predictability around the UK cost base.

  5. On business rates, the government will go further by removing the disincentive some companies face to making new investments by looking again at how plant and machinery is treated in property valuations for business rates purposes.

  6. Giving local areas more say in business rates setting is broadly supported by manufacturers as part of the evolution of decentralising decision making in England. This is an agenda that needs to be squarely focused on boosting growth in local areas, not just about the devolution of power.  In order to bring the business voice closer to this process, the government will ensure that safeguards against wild fluctuations in bills that would undermine the predictability of the system are put in place.

  7. Businesses up and down the country put transport and infrastructure at or near the top of their priority list of government actions to support growth and unlock talent. Local areas can demonstrate they get this by putting it at the heart of local growth deals. Central government will do the same by being unequivocal in its response to the Airports Commission.

  8. One of the few policy areas that trumps transport for many manufacturers is skills and apprenticeships. Government has found a way of walking the new apprenticeship levy tightrope by balancing costs with a focus on high quality training provision.

  9. There will be no rabbits emerging from hats and no surprises in the small print.

Author

Chief Economist

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