Commenting on today’s Budget Statement, Andrew Tuscher, North East Region Director at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, says: “Manufacturers in the North East should be delighted - the Chancellor said this would be a Budget for manufacturing and he has more than delivered on his word. The Government has sent a strong message that it clearly recognises the need to make the competitiveness of the UK a priority and this will benefit hard-working companies across our region as well as up and down the country.
“We made a strong case for the need to reduce the rising cost of energy faced by so many companies and the Chancellor has acted on that. Taken together with measures to boost investment, exports and skills, the Chancellor deserves a pat on the back. We have always said that to achieve a resilient recovery the Government must back manufacturing and we’ve seen that from this Budget.
“We now have some of the building blocks in place which will help rebalance the economy. But, as the Chancellor suggests, there’s still more work to be done. We now need to take steps which will lead to longer-term solutions beyond current spending and electoral cycles. This will finally give business the predictability and certainty to encourage the successive rounds of investment our economy needs.”
Ann Watson, chief operating officer of Semta, which is responsible for raising the skills and competitiveness of 128,000 companies and a workforce of 1.66m in the UK’s advanced manufacturing and engineering sector said: “While we are yet to digest the full details of the Budget, the fact the Chancellor has announced extended support for small businesses to take on 100,000 additional apprentices is welcome, as is the announcement to support those on Higher Apprenticeships to attain their degree. Skills are vital in this modern, competitive world and as the economy recovers it is vital businesses have access to a skills pipeline of talent to ensure the UK remains world class in advanced manufacturing and engineering.These announcements build on the work we have been doing with businesses of all sizes, but in particular SMEs, to cope with a large number of retirements in the sector and to position themselves to make the most of the opportunities afforded by the economic upturn by recruiting apprentices, higher apprentices and graduates.”