Manufacturers’ organisation EEF urged government to use the Spending Review to send a clear signal to business that it is getting behind the areas that matter most to growth.
According to the organisation, further reductions in overall spending will make it necessary for the government to prioritise key growth areas, such as skills, innovation, exports and infrastructure.
EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler said: “The Spending Review must prioritise the actions to help to deliver growth. This means supporting the firms that are innovating and investing in skills and that will deliver the exports to meet the UK’s £1 trillion target.
“The government is making the shift towards growth-enhancing spending unnecessarily difficult by protecting large areas of spending. The time is now ripe to abandon the ring-fence for health spending.”
EEF sees a number of key priorities, including improving support for applied research by putting science and innovation spending together in a combined ring-fence (also moving the Technology Strategy Board and its budget in this pot); supporting employers that are investing in apprenticeships; building on recent efforts to transform the UK’s export performance by protecting recent increases in funding for UKTI; prioritising investment in our road network.
The Spending Review must also take action to address the growing concerns over rising energy prices, according to the organisation.
Scuoler added: “With rising energy prices affecting more manufacturers, the government needs to rethink its unilateral tax on energy through the Carbon Price Floor. It must also make a longer-term commitment to compensate energy intensive firms.”