On 22 November, the Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his second Budget. In this, the Government demonstrated their commitment and support for to the manufacturing sector, according to EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation.
Commenting on the Autumn Budget EEF Chief Executive Terry Scuoler said:
“The Government’s commitment to a comprehensive industrial strategy and support for manufacturing, innovation and new technology is a welcome stiffener for business as Brexit anxiety looms. The Chancellor’s explicit pledge to deliver an implementation plan ahead of Brexit will reassure companies of the Government’s intent, giving business certainty amid gathering Brexit jitters.
“We are delighted to see the Government’s National Productivity Fund has been extended for a further year to £31 billion to upgrade Britain’s economic infrastructure and the extension of the R&D tax credit increasing to 12% will boost business investment in future productivity and technological advances.
“The £5bn commitment to build 300,000 houses a year will not only benefit first time buyers but, with a very heavily integrated supply chain, it will be a boost for the UK construction sector.”
The treasury also announced that it intends to investigate how the tax system and charges on single use plastics can reduce waste. This means it could consider a tax to single-use plastic items such as packaging and polystyrene takeaway boxes.
The British Plastics Federation (BPF) stated:
“The presence of plastics in the ocean is an issue that is rightly concerning the public. However, BPF urges the government to look at options that address the root cause of this global problem, rather than embracing seemingly quick-win, populist strategies. A tax that ultimately increases costs for the consumer does not provide a viable solution to today’s issues.
“Instead, the UK needs a strategy to increase on-the-go recycling, a system enabling clear national communications and the enforcement of fines to make it universally understood that littering is unacceptable and irresponsible.”
Peter Atterby, Managing Director of leading technical compounder Luxus, also commented:
“While we welcome initiatives that aim to clean up our oceans, we should note the UK is not a major plastics polluter.
“Luxus is also a supporter of Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative let by the BPF to help reduce pellet loss to the environment. By signing up to Operation Clean Sweep companies adhere to best practice and implement systems to prevent pellet loss – a positive step forward.
“But most importantly, we should remember that plastics has long been the material of choice for the food and drinks packaging industries for many reasons. It offers numerous benefits from helping to reduce food waste to reducing CO2 emissions – rather than being the scourge as described by the Chancellor.”