Global competitiveness at core of auto industry’s Budget 2014 call

14 March 2014 #SMMT News
  • A competitive business environment is crucial to continued momentum of automotive sector.
  • Vehicle manufacturers renew call for rebalancing of business rates.
  • Skills critical to future growth.
  • Increase needed in global competitiveness of R&D tax credits.
  • Auto sector says sustained support is central to supply chain success.

The UK automotive industry has set out its priorities ahead of the 2014 Budget; a series of measures it says are necessary to maintain the competitiveness and momentum of the sector.

With an industry worth more than £30bn a year in exports and manufacturing output forecast to rise to record levels in the coming years, Budget 2014 is crucial to ensuring every area of the industry is able to fulfil its growth potential. SMMT is seeking government support for a campaign on business rates that affect large manufacturers. This campaign, which includes several major automotive brands, seeks a review of how manufacturing sites are treated and for business rates to be reviewed, enabling the UK to compete at an international level.

Industry leaders also drew attention to ensuring a competitive skills system, simplifying energy efficiency regimes and supporting innovation, such as through R&D tax credits. Although welcome changes were made recently to tax credits, continued action needs to made to ensure a more globally competitive position. R&D is the catalyst for cutting-edge innovation that can keep the UK in the global automotive race.

The progress and development of the UK automotive sector cannot rely solely on success cascading down from the industry’s biggest players. Support is also required for the 2,500 suppliers spread across the country, which need the technology, capacity and capability to exploit current growth opportunities.

SMMT has called for the Chancellor to firm-up funding routes for suppliers, stripping-out bureaucracy and barriers from the funding bid process. This call extends as far as support for skills development, a factor vital to ongoing growth, which depends on the sector attracting the best, most highly skilled employees.

Chief Executive, Mike Hawes said, “SMMT has called on the Chancellor to sustain increasing business confidence and to translate the words of support for the sector, as set out in the Industrial Strategy, into action. This means long-term support for the supply chain, innovation, skills development and the maintenance of a competitive business environment.”

Click through to see SMMT’s full submission for Budget 2014.

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