NEPIC Chief Executive, Iain Wright, the cluster that represents the chemical-using and processing industry in the North East of England, responds to the Chancellor’s 2017 Autumn:
“Whilst business will welcome the Chancellor’s pledge to establish the UK as the world leader in modern technologies and knowledge-based industries, it is of huge concern that economic growth, productivity and business investment – the real drivers of wealth creation and rising living standards – have been sharply downgraded.
“The fortunes of the chemicals and process industry rise and fall on the growth of other industries, so it is vital that this region – the best place in the UK to invest in chemicals and processing manufacturing – remains resilient and pulls together to ensure we propose a strong, coherent offer for firms to invest and do business in the North.
“Given the North East’s strength in medicines manufacturing, the announcement of £17 million for life sciences is welcome and should not be confined to the golden triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge.
“The £123 million pledged for the South Tees Development Corporation is welcomed also and will help secure the former SSI site’s status as the best industrial opportunity for modern manufacturing in the UK since the Second World War. A devolution deal for the North of Tyne authories, that could see a mayor elected in 2019, could act as a real catalyst for growth in the North of the region also.
“Extra R&D tax credits for innovative firms, in a bid to ensure the Government achieves its newly-announced pledge that 2.4 per of GDP is spent on research and development, is a good step in the right direction.
“Yet the nation urgently needs to address its productivity weakness if we are to compete as a strong manufacturing country in the modern world and secure additional investment. It is concerning that, according to the Chancellor’s own figures, we will see no net contribution to economic growth from exports from 2019 to 2022.
“In the post-Brexit era, in a region which is rightly proud of our export performance, much more emphasis should have been given in today’s Budget to offer British firms the help and support to export their great goods and services around the world. We should be raising growth, creating jobs and improving living standards on the back of a strong export-led bounce, but the Chancellor has sadly missed an opportunity.”
For additional comments, contact NEPIC’s PR & Communication’s Manager, Louise Gwynne-Jones, on 07808 029967 or email louise.Gwynnefirstname.lastname@example.org