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Budget is too little too late to help manufacturers

Surface Generation, an SME composite manufacturer based in Leicestershire employing 20 people, says that today’s Budget is ‘too little, too late’ to really make a difference for UK manufacturers on the global stage.

The manufacturer, which increased its revenue by around 40% in the past 12 months and generates around 90% of its sales from overseas, says that more needs to be done to provide greater access to funding, safeguarding intellectual property and tackling the country’s skills shortage.

Ben Halford, Chief Executive, Surface Generation said: “The biggest challenges we have had to face are access to funding and finding qualified and good quality engineers.  To date, we have secured all of our funding from individuals and spent far too much time and effort looking for staff in a small and ever shrinking pool of British engineering talent.

“The announcement that the Government is going to double the available finance for companies exporting to £3 billion and that interest rates on this will be cut by a third is welcome news but the amount is not enough and we will have to wait and see how easy it is to access.

“Similarly the news that the annual investment allowance (AIA) for companies will increase and that the government will raise the rate of the Research and Development tax credit payable to loss making small and medium sized companies is welcome, but again it does not go far enough.  The Chancellor said that over the next five years it expects its changes to support £1.3 billion of investment in innovation from SMEs, which is nowhere near big enough to make a significant change.

“Finally, we will have to see the details around plans to encourage more apprenticeships, and how this will affect the increasing shortage of quality engineers in this country.

“The UK is finding it increasingly difficult to compete on a global stage when it comes to manufacturing and today’s Budget had done little to help this situation.”

 

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