The Black Country Chamber of Commerce is calling for more support for manufacturers in next week’s Budget. President Peter Mathews also wants to see a simplification of the tax system and is highlighting the need for an injection of confidence into the economy
The Black Country is the manufacturing heartland of the UK but there has been this modern phenomenon where the service sector has been the focus of economic growth, yet it can be argued that manufacturing production is where the real business is.
If we are to lift ourselves out of this recession as soon as possible, we need a back-to-basics approach with a strong manufacturing base and a more balanced economy that will be more resilient in the future.
Despite all its perceived troubles, manufacturing is holding the economy up at the moment and without it we would be in even more trouble.
It can be a great driver of employment and wealth creation, if supported properly.
If it is true that Government is looking at a green Budget, with the right incentives and support, firms in this region can play a key role in the research and development of new technology that will lead to a bright new era for manufacturing.
Correcting that balance between manufacturing and service sector is vital, as is maintaining and increasing the level of private sector employment.
We need government policies to keep people in the private sector employed, to ensure the wealth creating aspect of our economy is supported for the long term. Similarly, we want to avoid an increase in unsustainable public sector jobs which are, after all, only affordable if there is a strong business sector.
At a time when the UK economy is facing a serious and prolonged economic downturn, government policy must also create an environment where businesses can operate without facing a complex and burdensome tax and regulatory regime.
It is confidence that needs to be injected into the economy at this time and this Budget will be the most important one for business for many decades.
It needs bold action from the chancellor. There has been plenty of time for the Treasury to listen to suggestions, to think about what needs to be done and how to implement it promptly.
This is a defining moment for the Government and we need to see evidence that it has been listening to businesses and consumers over the past six months.
The UK economy is going through a period of severe change and as we work our way through this downturn to recovery, we’ll see a different picture of UK businesses then we had in the first half of 2008.
The changes in the banking sector and the move to electric vehicles and a green and sustainable future will present new challenges as we head to 2010.