Measures Impacting Manufacturing Businesses
Measures to support the Governments Industrial Strategy for which there is a current Green Paper, together with the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund are to be welcomed.
The Chancellor also confirmed the that there will be funding to develop so called ‘T levels’ which will see an academic and vocational divide at 16, with 15 new technical education routes being made ready for launch in 2019. It remains to be seen how this will work in practice, but at least there appears to be something more than lip service to the skills shortage faced by the sector.
There is renewed focus on higher technical education alongside the Talent Funding program to fund additional phD places, and the vast majority of these places will be within STEM disciplines.
The Chancellor underlined his support for ensuring the UK leads as a centre for innovation by bringing forward simpler administration for the R&D Tax Credits mechanism, which provides funding for many companies across the UK.
Overall, this budget will have a broadly negative impact in tax terms on many businesses in the sector, but with some focus on skills, for once, the direction of travel on that score looks more positive.
Ginni Cooper, Corporate Services Director says:
“We are all too aware of the skills gap and its effect on businesses in the manufacturing and engineering sector so any drive towards addressing this is welcome. The newly announced “T” levels are a while off launch yet though, so it’s vital that employers look at what they can do now. The new apprenticeship levy may be a useful aid in enabling the upskilling of current workers as an alternative to taking on new recruits. ”
The Apprenticeship Levy also kicks in soon which, if it delivers what has been promised, should help to improve prospects for securing the sector’s future workforce. In conclusion, whilst there were a number of missed opportunities to encourage accelerated growth in the manufacturing and engineering sectors, perhaps we can look forward to more positives when the Chancellor presents his second budget of the year in the autumn.