Peter Davis Lead
Peter Davis, Director-General of the BPF, looks at what the coming year could hold for the UK plastics industry, including the potential impact of high-profile issues such as the UK's shale gas deposits and England's carrier bag tax.
We start 2014 with optimistic assessments all round on a real recovery in the UK economy. These are likely to be confirmed in the BPF's January Business Conditions Survey currently being undertaken.
It's very important that the UK's recovery is not based as has happened previously, on booming house prices and consumer demand fuelled by debt. There is no sign of the latter and on the former the rise in house prices is due to four years pent up demand where people were unable to move home. We need to see in the recovery rising business investment, rising exports of products and investment in infrastructure.
Shale Gas deposits will give the UK a tremendous boost in the 2020's, not just in national energy supplies but also in raw material feedstock for the plastics industry.
On the negative side we face next winter, depending on the weather, UK energy supply not equalling demand, meaning factories will have to close production whilst consumers power supplies are protected. It's the opposite in China!
We also face in 2014 our Government foolishly imposing a 5p charge on plastic carrier bags, ignoring the fact they are only 0.02 percent of the waste stream and 70 percent of consumers re-use them. We shall of course oppose this, but our concern is that such meaningless knee jerk measures could spread to other plastic products such as bottles.
Finally durable plastic bank notes are to be introduced - fitting for the profits I hope you all will make.