Commenting on the Spring Statement today, Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“In the current climate business had little expectation for today’s Spring Statement. The Chancellor’s speech did, however, contain some welcome commitments on Apprenticeships, the digital environment and green economy, all of which are vital for the future of the UK economy.
“Nevertheless, in the greater scheme of things, with growth forecasts being revised down and the risk of a no deal Brexit rising, businesses would have wished to hear more about Government contingency planning. For example, what support package is the Treasury preparing for those industries who will be most affected by this morning’s dramatic 0% tariff policy announcement? Will government follow the lead of EU countries by offering support vouchers to exporters and businesses who need to adapt their supply chains on account of today’s sudden tariff announcement?
“At a time of potentially unprecedented economic disruption business will want to be reassured that Parliament will mow come to its senses and put jobs, growth and the livelihoods of people across the UK first.”
Commenting on the apprenticeship package, Verity Davidge, Head of Education & Skills Policy at Make UK, said:
“With apprenticeship starts falling, EU workers shunning the UK in the shadow of Brexit and an ever increasing skills gap, manufacturers would have hoped to see more today. The package of Levy reforms now commencing in April, while very welcome, will do very little to cut through the chaos. Manufacturers will be looking for the Chancellor to be brave, bold and swift in his approach to the Apprenticeship Levy Review, which is already underway and for it to deliver real improvements for businesses and apprentices.”