Ahead of this week’s Budget statement, manufacturers’ organisation EEF has called for the government to put the focus back on promoting more balanced growth.
According to the organisation, the growing debate on new taxes and tax avoidance risks distracting attention from the need to boost confidence and get industry investing and creating new jobs.
EEF chief executive, Terry Scuoler, said: “Right now the top priority for our economy is to boost growth through investment and exports and to create more jobs. Industry can deliver the growth but to do so it needs to hear a clear message from government on its ambitions for our economy and how it plans to achieve them.
“The Budget needs to demonstrate to industry that the government has a clear plan for creating the right business environment over the rest of this Parliament, that all of government is behind this and will hold itself to account in delivering it.”
EEF argued that the immediate priority for government must be increasing investment and exports to drive growth. Measured proposed include a two year temporary increase in capital allowances to 100% and the reduction of national insurance contributions for firms recruiting 18-24 year olds.
Looking to the medium term EEF is calling on the government to focus on four key aims and measures of success:
· More companies bringing new products and services to market;
· More globally-focused companies choosing to expand in the UK;
· A lower cost of doing business in the UK;
· A more productive and more flexible labour force.
The organisation also set how government should measure its progress. For example, under the cost of doing business by 2015 Britain should have below average EU industrial electricity prices, the most competitive tax system in the G20 and should see a net reduction of 10% in the burden of complying with domestic regulation.
EEF’s specific Budget priorities include:
· Introducing a two year temporary increase in the value of capital allowances;
· Ensuring that the National Loan Guarantee Scheme is pushed strongly through participating banks’ networks;
· Using its Business Finance Partnership to provide supply chain growth capital;
· Extending the Enterprise Scheme to cover debt instruments;
· Introducing a Regulatory Burden Target;
· Removing the Carbon Price Floor by 2015 and avoiding increasing the Carbon Price Support in this Budget to compensate for weakness in the EU carbon market;
· Reducing the employer national insurance contribution rate by 1% for employers taking on new employees aged 18-24.