Mike Boswell said the BPF would "increase pressure" on the Government to ensure secure energy supplies for the UK's manufacturing sectors.
The President of the British Plastics Federation has said the association will “increase pressure” on the Government to fast-track new power generation and gas storage facilities in the UK.
Speaking at the association’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday (21/5), Mike Boswell reiterated the need for both secure and affordable energy supplies in order to ensure the uninterrupted continuation of manufacturing in the country.
“We simply don’t believe Ministers’ reassurances that the lights will not go out,” he commented. “We entirely agree with OFGEM that there is a strong risk of power cuts in the winter of 2015-16 which will directly affect manufacturing.”
Addressing the other areas of focus in his Presidential theme, Boswell said 2014 holds “positive news” for its members in the field of plastics for construction, with output in the sector predicted to rise.
“After some very challenging years we do see some positive news for our plastics construction products members. It is predicted UK construction output will rise by 4.5 percent in 2014 and private housing starts rose 20.9 percent in 2013," he said.
Boswell said the Government’s Green Deal was simply “not working,” stating “it would be much more preferable to reduce VAT to five percent on energy efficient products such as EPS insulation and UPVC double glazed windows.”
On the availability of Bank finance to SMEs, Boswell welcomed the Office of Fair Trading ordering banks to remove barriers to more business lending. “We are monitoring closely our small companies ability to get the finance they need from banks, and this is vital if we are to secure a long-term economic recovery, within which plastics will have a pivotal role,” he said.
The President welcomed the surge in 283,000 people finding work in the first quarter of the year, but said that it was still a “vital requirement” to address the industry’s shortage of skilled workers. He said the BPF had “actively supported” Cogent’s Science Industry Partnership to greatly increase apprenticeships and traineeships.
The BPF also published its Annual Review of 2013 at the meeting, which Boswell said “showcased the hard work undertaken by members and staff representing, promoting and defending the UK plastics industry.”