The Make UK/BDO Q2 Manufacturing Outlook survey shows growth and orders slowing significantly, exports almost at a standstill and investment nosediving as companies cut or postpone their plans in order to maintain cashflow.
The seriousness of the situation and the prospects for the next six months, means that industry cannot wait for the promised help in the Autumn which the Chancellor made in the Spring Statement, with action required urgently before the summer recess. In response, Make UK has made a number of recommendations for measures Government can introduce now to address rising business costs including the following:
- Waive or reduce business rates for the next 12 months
- Implement VAT deferrals for larger businesses and waive completely for SMEs
- Temporarily freeze the Climate Change Levy and, if energy costs continue to rise, remove it completely
- Review the efficacy of the business interruption loan schemes introduced during the pandemic and deploy a successor scheme by Q3
- Extend the super-deduction investment policy
- Make the increase in the Annual Investment Allowance permanent
In addition to immediate measures, Make UK also stressed that the Government must move away from short-term, gesture politics. Instead, it must focus on demonstrating to business and, foreign investors, that it has the capacity to operate in a serious manner with a long-term vision befitting a modern and outward looking Britain.