The Autumn Statement brought mixed news for British manufacturers, including UK steel suppliers, who are among those companies represented by manufacturers’ organisation EEF.
EEF incorporates the sector-specific representative body UK Steel, and gave its own full response to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s announcements made within the Autumn Statement this week.
Steve Radley, director of policy, welcomed plans to cut national insurance contributions for the youngest workers, as a means of encouraging more young people into work.
This, he said, would “help to make inroads into youth unemployment and help firms bring new skills into their business”.
UK steel suppliers who make heavy use of road haulage may also have small cause for celebration thanks to a freeze on fuel duty throughout the coming year.
But Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, said more could be done to support energy-intensive manufacturing industries as they try to continue full-scale production in the face of increasingly punitive environmental sanctions.
“Industry … will be dismayed that government has failed to address the genuine concerns surrounding the uncompetitive price of energy for UK manufacturers,” he added.
Overall, it seems the Autumn Statement left some positive and negative impressions alike on the industry – and the months to come will reveal the balance of impact of the measures announced.