Hammond urged to support manufacturing in Autumn Budget

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called on the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, to address the UK’s “productivity problem” by using this week’s Autumn Budget announcements to extend greater support to British manufacturers.

Speaking in recent days, CBI Director General, Carolyn Fairbairn, said that the Government needed to tackle the “weak foundations” of the British economy with “consistency and determination.”

She said that, at a time when Brexit negotiations with Europe are in full swing, the Chancellor must not overlook the “vital action” needed here in the UK.

“The only sure way to raise living standards and provide sustainable public services is to solve the UK’s productivity problem,” she said.

In particular, the CBI is calling on the Chancellor to boost British manufacturing activity, after its latest industrial trends survey revealed that growth in the sector was waning.

In an official pre-Budget letter to Mr Hammond, the CBI has laid out a ‘wish list’ for the Autumn Budget.

It says that the Government needs to:

  • Communicate a clearer plan on its Industrial Strategy.
  • Reform business rates in order to incentivise ‘productive investment’.
  • Reach an investment target of 2.4 per cent of GDP on research and development (R&D) by 2027.
  • Deliver any and all planned infrastructure projects with clear timeframes and implementation plans.
  • Protect per-pupil funding in schools.
  • Provide Government departments with resources to ‘make a success of Brexit’.

Ms Fairbairn said: “It’s critical the Budget ensures growth reaches all parts of the UK.

“A bold Industrial Strategy, with a clear delivery timetable and measurable progress is needed to eradicate differences in living standards around the UK.”