Infrastructure commission is a positive step, says EEF

Posted on 5 Oct 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Chief executive of EEF, Terry Scuoler has responded to today's speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.

Scuoler commented: “The Chancellor’s message on building stronger regional economies, developing a framework for our future infrastructure and, ensuring strong foundations for our economy by addressing the deficit will resonate with Britain’s makers.

Terry Scuoler, CEO, EEF
Terry Scuoler, chief executive, EEF.

“Creating jobs and lowering taxes are part of the formula for sustained growth in our economy. Given the global risks the Chancellor alluded to, however, businesses also need confidence that new measures to achieve higher living standards and better skills don’t result in additional costs and eroded competitiveness for the UK’s innovators and exporters.

He continued: “In view of this it is vital we concentrate our resources in the Spending Review in areas that will lever the biggest productive potential, in particular in innovation, skills and science.

“It is also critical the Chancellor shields the steel and other energy intensive sectors from crippling high energy costs by honouring the promised compensation package.”

Responding to plans for a National Infrastructure Body – a proposal EEF has been calling for over several years, the chief executive added: “Industry has been calling on government to ensure we have some way of planning for our future infrastructure needs and challenges, today’s announcement is a positive step in that direction.

“The Commission will ultimately be judged not on the number of infrastructure projects it recommends. It will be judged on how far it engages with the public and Parliament to ensure wider public support for critical investments and, ultimately, whether or not government acts on decisions such as the recent Airports Commission recommendation to expand Heathrow airport.

“It is also essential the Commission delivers on iconic national projects such as HS2 that contain a substantial amount of British built and sourced content.”

On the abolition of the Uniform Business Rate, Scuoler, foretold: “This will be a real test of local authorities and their ability to better enable local growth. Local authorities will now be able to prove that they can deliver savings and pass these on to local businesses enabling them to further invest and create jobs.”