The UK’s biggest manufacturing exporter has given a cautious welcome to the Chancellor’s combined Autumn Statement and Spending Review announcements.
Speaking immediately after listening to George Osborne, Steve Elliott – the Chemical Industries Association’s Chief Executive, said “I think there will be a mixture of relief and anticipation in UK chemical and pharmaceutical businesses over the Chancellor’s commitments. Understanding the detail and full implications will be important, but I am pleased that there has been a clear appreciation of the huge impact energy and climate change policies are having on the country’s foundation industries such as chemicals, with confirmation of the exemption from renewable electricity policy costs. We still await state aid approval for compensation measures in this area, but today’s commitment is another welcome move”.
Turning to innovation Elliott continued “It is good to see that spending on innovation is being upheld and support for the Catapults is to rise. We again look forward to the detail and, in particular, confirmation of the earlier commitment to a National Formulation Centre and the additional boost that will offer to science-based industries such as chemicals. We do of course have concerns around the move from grants to loans for innovation and that it does not restrict the excellent progress in this area under Innovate UK. We also welcome the protection, in real terms of the science budget and the Government’s acknowledgement that science and innovation go hand in hand.
He concluded “All in all I think it is a Spending Review and Statement that our sector can work with and we look forward to being consulted on the detail”
- We are the UK’s largest manufacturing exporting sector with exports of over £50 bn, 20% of all UK manufacturing exports.
- We are a high value manufacturer with Gross Value Added (GVA) per head 1.6 times higher than for the whole of UK manufacturing.
- The sector provides around 160, 000 high quality direct jobs and around half a million direct, indirect and supply chain jobs.
- Research and Development spending is key to developing innovative new products and processes. As a result, R&D spending in the sector was almost £5 billion in 2013.
- Investment is essential to the expansion of the sector. Companies in the sector invested almost £4 billion in the UK in 2014, a real terms increase of around 5% compared with 2013.
- Business Investment in the chemical sector expanded by 36% in real terms in the first half of 2015 when compared with the first half of 2014.