Budget 2013: Ease the burden on manufacturers

 

As part of a series of blogs previewing Budget 2013, Ginni Cooper, head of Moore and Smalley’s manufacturing team, gives her opinion on what should be done to help manufacturers.

 

Manufacturers shouldn’t expect any major surprises in the budget because one of the main issues affecting businesses and stifling investment for growth was addressed in the autumn statement.

 

This was the raising of the annual investment allowance to £250,000, with effect from January 1, which was effectively an admission that the previous decrease to £25,000 was a big mistake. Obviously it would be nice if this allowance was still available after 2014, but it is too early to make an informed prediction.

 

PAYE real time information is another hugely important item on the agenda for many businesses and any simplification of this scheme – due to be introduced in April – would be welcome. Manufacturing companies employing numerous operatives on a weekly basis face a massive increase in their administrative burden and there will be little scope to move employees onto a monthly paid basis.

 

The chancellor also needs to get a move on with the government-backed business bank as it appears that the Funding for Lending Scheme isn’t working. Manufacturing companies need access to finance from banks who understand their client’s commercial DNA and recognise that asset based lending often doesn’t work.

 

In a broader political context, the government should do more to promote manufacturing and engineering as worthy career choices. Manufacturers themselves have a role to play and the chancellor could perhaps offer some form of incentive scheme to stimulate productive dialogue between them and local schools and colleges.