No alarms and no surprises

Posted on 12 Mar 2010 by The Manufacturer

Chancellor Alistair Darling’s Budget – scheduled for March 24 – must contain no more “surprise burdens” for manufacturers, the Food and Drink Federation has said.

“Despite the fragility of the economic recovery, regulatory pressures and tax burdens on our members continue to grow, while important business incentives are being cut,” said Melanie Leech, director general of the FDF.

“The Pre-Budget Report last December announced totally unexpected and unwelcome changes to the Climate Change Levy discount arrangements and there is currently fresh uncertainty over plans for Renewable Heat Incentives – we hope the Budget will provide clarity over green taxes with a view to provide real incentives to increase resource efficiency without damaging competitiveness.”

FDF follows the Confederation of British Industry in using its budget proposal submission to call for the one per cent National Insurance employer contribution rise planned for next year to be scrapped. The two organisations are part of an eight strong collective of trade organisations which are collecting signatures to present to government via an online petition against the rise. Leech said that if the Chancellor backs down over the matter it would send “a powerful signal to employers that he is prioritising job creation.”

She pointed out that food and drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK with 14 per cent of the industry’s total output and directly employing 440,000 people.

“Our sector is one of the few industries that continued to grow exports in the past 12 months,” she said.

“Food and drink manufacturing is both a strategic and an economically vital component of the UK economy. If the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector is to keep playing a positive role in supporting economic recovery, we would strongly urge the Chancellor to listen to our concerns and ensure his Budget places no additional burdens on the food and drink sector.”