Director-General of the British Plastics Federation (BPF), Peter Davis, has said the Chancellor’s Budget statement was “good for manufacturers” and should boost investment and productivity for the plastics industry.
In February, the BPF was one of Seven Associations that signed an open letter to the Chancellor proposing a number of measures they felt would be beneficial to continued and sustainable economic recovery and growth.
Commenting, David said: “This is a good budget for manufacturing. In the BPF-led Seven Associations letter to the Chancellor in February we asked him to extend the £250k tax-free allowance to upgrade equipment and expand production. In fact, he has doubled it to £500k until December 2015. This will boost investment and productivity in the plastics industry”.
Davis praised the Chancellor’s doubling of UK Export Finance’s direct lending programme to £3bn and to be more proactive in stimulating export. “This will greatly help SME’s particularly to start exporting. Our trade deficit in goods was £106bn in 2012. We must reverse that,” he added.
Davis welcomed the announcement of £30 million funding for a materials innovation centre for the development and research of graphene, saying plastics will be “crucial” to graphene’s success. He also expects the extra £85 million for apprenticeship grants for employers to directly benefit the plastics industry at a time it is being hit by “a growing skills shortage.”
The Chancellor, as widely expected, capped the Carbon Price Support Rate from 2016-17 to 2019-20. “Capping the rate and extending the compensation scheme for energy intensive industries such as chemicals should benefit the plastics industry in stable or lower prices for the raw materials and additives they purchase,” continued Davis.
Finally, Davis had an innovative suggestion in response to the Chancellor’s plans to introduce a new £1 coin in order to combat the wide counterfeiting of the existing one. “ Why not [have] a plastics £1 count, in which far more anti-counterfeiting devices are possible, as is the case with plastic bank notes.”