Make UK comments on UK Government’s Autumn Statement

Commenting on the UK Government’s recent Autumn Statement, Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, said: “This was a bold statement by the Chancellor who has worked hard to understand industry’s needs and deliver a transformational strategy designed to turbo charge investment.

“Manufacturers will applaud this focus on addressing the painful achilles heel that has troubled the economy for decades. The biggest factor that companies want when planning investment decisions is certainty in policy and this has now been provided by making full expensing permanent.

“Industry will also welcome measures to boost engineering apprenticeships and stimulate advanced manufacturing, which will be vital in boosting high value growth and high skill employment in the economy of the future.

“The Chancellor has worked closely with Make UK and promised an autumn statement with manufacturing at its heart. He has delivered on that commitment and it is now down to industry to pick up the gauntlet.”

On full expensing, Fhaheen Khan, Senior Economist, said: “Making full expensing permanent shows the Chancellor is serious about promoting business investment and bringing an end to continual, short term policy sugar rushes in favour of a stable and steady approach to improving productivity and growth.

“Manufacturing is the most investment intensive sector with the majority of companies having long term cycles of five to seven years. This change reflects that and will provide companies with the certainty and stability they have long been craving for, while making the UK a top five nation in its attractiveness to global corporations who are looking for the best places to invest.”

In a Make UK survey published in October, more than half of companies (54%) said frequent changes to investment incentives in recent years had deterred investment. By contrast, less than a fifth (18%) said frequent changes had helped investment.

On the Harrington Review, Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, said: “This is a welcome report which reflects the fact that over the last decade in particular, the world economy has moved on substantially with other Governments taking a far more pro-active approach to industrial strategies which are linked to big investments. This is being reflected in ever fiercer competition and, the economic prize it brings of growth, high value skills and tax revenues.

“However, through a combination of factors, including previous beliefs which are now outmoded, the UK has slipped down the international league table and is missing out on valuable investments from overseas. These bold recommendations, especially a dedicated investment minister with cross government remit, are a vital first step in changing the culture across government so that foreign investment and, the benefits it brings, is given the top level priority it deserves.”

On the Apprentice Levy, Verity Davidge, Director of Policy, said: “The Chancellor’s recognition of the value of engineering apprenticeships is a vote of confidence in the manufacturers across the country providing these opportunities. £50 million of investment in a pilot scheme geared towards increasing the number of apprentices in engineering and manufacturing, as well as other growth sectors, is an important step forward in reversing the recent decline in starts. It will also provide the right support for the many manufacturers who have long called for better support from the Government to invest in training. We look forward to continuing our engagement with the Government on taking this pilot scheme forward.”

On Investment Zones, James Brougham, Senior Economist said: “The Chancellor has listened to concerns held by industry that the previous five-year time frame for fiscal incentives in Investment Zones will be too short to maximise investment potential. With today’s announcement that these will be extended to ten years and the funding envelope for flexible spending doubled to £160 million, the sector will be assured that the Government is committed to a longer-term plan to boost investment.

“Long-term business environment and policy confidence from the Government is what the sector has needed to drive forward investment and today’s announcement makes great strides towards that goal.”

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