Trade bodies urge supply chain boost in budget

19 March 2013

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19 March 2013 | Anna Reynolds

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the Forum of Private Business (FPB) have called on the chancellor to provide funding across the automotive supply chain and increase SME lending.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s budget, the SMMT’s interim chief executive Mike Baunton said: “It is imperative that the overall UK business environment is competitive and provides a distinct rationale and incentive for companies to invest. SMMT calls on the chancellor to support innovation and opportunities in the supply chain, particularly in access to finance.”

Baunton encouraged chancellor George Osborne to announce a revised set of company car tax rates from 2015, with incentives to purchase ultra-low carbon vehicles. The SMMT also wants the government to commit to the regional growth fund – which helps UK projects attract private sector investment and create sustainable employment - and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain initiative, to provide confidence and support for companies in the supply chain. Currently, these initiatives are being piloted.

The FPB said the chancellor must deliver a business-focused budget. It highlighted areas its members want to see addressed, such as business rates, fuel duty and the ‘funding for lending’ scheme, which allows banks and building societies to borrow from the Bank of England.

Alex Jackman, head of policy at the FPB, said: “Business rates and fuel head the list of businesses’ biggest costs and some longer-term certainty – rather than incremental postponements – over both of those would help enormously. We know the vast majority of small businesses would also welcome with open arms some form of fuel stabiliser.”

Jackman added: “Any more increases on Wednesday will be seen as an assault on entrepreneurship, particularly retailers who are struggling at the moment.”

The chancellor is scheduled to make his budget statement to the House of Commons tomorrow.

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