Manufacturing bosses have hit out at the Chancellor for failing to support energy intensive companies in his Autumn Statement.
Energy was the watchword ahead of the big speech, with intense public and political pressure to help consumers while avoiding accusations that he’s prepared to sacrifice free-market economics for political gain.
However, Richard Halstead, the Midland director of EEF, said George Osborne missed an opportunity to help production firms to export by reducing energy bills.
He said: “Industry, especially energy intensive users, will be dismayed that government has failed to address the genuine concerns surrounding the uncompetitive price of energy for UK manufacturers. Companies looking to invest and create jobs in the UK need a long-term commitment by government to control costs increases and compensate those most affected.”
The EEF had called for Osborne to extend all the measures in the current Energy Intensive Industry Package to 2020; to freeze and reduce the carbon price floor on a rolling basis; and freeze planned increases in the climate change levy. However, industrialist Russell Luckock, chairman of pressings firm AE Harris, said it had been positive.
He said: “The West Midlands, with its thousands of small operations should benefit more than other areas. The cap on business rates, the assistance for re-occupied premises, the cancellation of next year’s fuel duty rise, will help costs, and give manufacturers a bit of an edge.”