Government has frequently said that it does not want to show its hand on Brexit. In this afternoon’s autumn statement Philip Hammond also kept his cards close to his chest, revealing little detail on the headline announcements. Nevertheless, BCC’s Technical & Environmental Manager, Lee Brownsword commented: “The new National Productivity Investment Fund, measures to increase housebuilding and greater focus on innovation are potentially positive for the ceramics industry. The detail over the coming months is all important”.
The announcement of a new National Productivity Investment Fund is most welcome. We have been calling on Government to collaborate further with the industry to unleash our growth potential, and depending on the details of this new fund this may specifically benefit our sector.
Our members manufacture a breadth of products needed to meet the UK’s housebuilding requirements. The announcement that Government will be facilitating the construction of more affordable homes is therefore welcomed, but these must now be delivered. We are however cautious about the Chancellor’s remarks on “accelerated construction”. The quality and longevity of housing, as we have come to expect with brick-built homes, must be maintained. The use of locally-manufactured construction products would ensure that the full economic benefit of increased housebuilding is felt in the UK.
We are disappointed that the Chancellor has decided to retain the UK-only carbon price floor tax which our members pay in full. This measure will continue to limit investment in our sector and adversely impacts our international competitiveness.
With many issues to address on trade following the EU Referendum result, we welcome additional resources in Whitehall. Tariff-free access to the EU and trade policies that maintain a level playing field are critical for the UK ceramics industry and we look forward to engaging with new officials on these pressing matters.
As we are demonstrating this week with our ceramics exhibition in Parliament, the UK ceramics industry is incredibly diverse and innovative. Continuing research & development is key to its ongoing success, and we welcome the Chancellor’s focus on fostering the right environment for innovation in the UK.
Notes to editors
The British Ceramic Confederation is the trade association for the UK ceramic manufacturing industry, representing the common and collective interests of all sectors of the industry. Its member companies cover the full spectrum of ceramic products, including the supply of materials, and comprise over 90% of the industry’s manufacturing capacity.
Our submission to the Chancellor for the 2016 Autumn Statement is available here.
For further information please contact:
Dr Laura Cohen, Chief Executive
Tel: 07827 358613 E-mail: email@example.com
Mr Lee Brownsword, Technical & Environmental Manager
Tel: 07949 693843 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org