MPA Urges Chancellor to Avoid Additional Business Costs in the Autumn Budget and Accelerate Spending
Ahead of the Government's Autumn Budget, the Mineral Products Association (MPA) has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, setting out a comprehensive package of measures which would boost economic growth and investment, employment and business efficiency throughout the UK.
In particular, the MPA has highlighted the need for the Government to avoid additional costs to industry businesses and customers at a time when construction and mineral products markets are subject to significant risks ranging from Brexit to the sluggish implementation of infrastructure investment.
The MPA calls on the Chancellor to:
- Announce a further freeze in the Aggregates Levy: Any increase would also be perverse given the industry's outstanding record on environmental management, sustainability and recycling.
- Reject increased taxation of red diesel: The recent Call for Evidence on red diesel appears to be a precursor to specific proposals to reduce or eliminate the rebate, which is worth over £100 million pa to the industry and there is currently no alternatively fuelled plant available. Higher taxation of red diesel would have minimal impact on industry's use of diesel or emissions and would simply be an additional cost for customers.
- Ensure no increase in environmental or regulatory costs for Energy Intensive Industries and an end to the Carbon Price Floor: These industries are highly regulated and efficiently operated in the UK and the imposition of costs damaging international competitiveness would simply encourage higher import levels with no net environmental nor carbon benefits.
MPA Chief Executive, Nigel Jackson said:
"This is potentially one of the most significant Budgets for many years as the economy continues to slow down with more potential downside risk than upside. Given the disappointing rate of economic growth over the past 18 months and forecasts of more of the same it is critical that Government uses the Budget to take every opportunity to maximise economic activity whilst avoiding increased taxes and costs on hard-pressed businesses in the mineral products, construction and related sectors. Given the dominance of Brexit in politics and the media, there is a danger that the fundamental importance of boosting economic growth and minimising business costs is being given too little attention. The industry recognises that existing infrastructure spending may be hard to increase but programmed spending could and should be accelerated to bolster demand. The Autumn Budget provides a significant opportunity to build confidence which will increase investment."
A copy of the submission to the Autumn Statement can be found here.