Suneeta Johal CEO of the CEA (Construction Equipment Association) Response to the Spring Statement

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“This mini-budget was an opportunity for Rishi Sunak to take significant action to help businesses to minimise the impact of rising inflation, which is at a 30-year high and continues to rise. This Spring Fiscal Statement comes at a critical time for manufacturing in the UK – and as expected it did not deliver and was very much an exercise of smoke and mirrors.

Petrol and diesel prices have soared in recent weeks hitting an all-time high – whilst today’s announcement of a fuel duty freeze and the temporary cut of 5p per litre is welcome, in reality, it will do very little in the way of easing the burden on the construction sector, where despite extensive lobbying, Government has ignored pleas for a delay of the reform of the red diesel and biofuels rebate.”

“Spiralling energy costs are crippling the sector and the situation has worsened due to the Russian war on Ukraine. The lack of support for businesses is deeply disappointing. The VAT cut on energy-saving devices, such as solar panels, has marginal benefits. So we wait in anticipation to see what the energy supply strategy will bring next week.”

“Investment in alternative sources of power was overlooked and is an opportunity missed.

The National Insurance rise is still going ahead and although the raising of the threshold to £12,570 before NI is paid will go some way to help – it’s still not enough for the employer and will add to costs when businesses are already experiencing labour and worker shortages. However, the increase of the employment allowance for small businesses to £5,000, which is a tax cut worth up to £1,000 for half a million small businesses is welcome.

The Chancellor also announced changes to research and development tax credits, saying ‘the generosity of reliefs for business investment would be increased to boost UK productivity but this will not be addressed until the Autumn budget alongside cutting tax rates on business investment.

It was immediate help our sector needed – and once again Government failed to deliver.”

Suneeta Johal CEO of the CEA (Construction Equipment Association)

 

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