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Budget sobering but generally positive, says MPA

Mineral Products Association welcomes a number of specific measures in the Budget

RESPONDING to the Chancellor’s Budget, Mineral Products Association chief executive Nigel Jackson commented: ‘Lower short-term economic growth and the continuing poor state of public finances are a sobering context for the Budget. Taking these realities into account, we are pleased with a number of the specific measures, including those which responded to our requests to government, such as the postponement of the Aggregates Levy increase, the additional £100 million for road repairs, the increase in the Climate Change Agreement discount and, more generally, the reductions in fuel duties and corporation tax.

‘However, we remain very concerned about the implications of higher carbon and energy costs for industry, particularly on the international competitiveness of energy-intensive industries, and the potential development constraints associated with the localism agenda, which remain hard to square with the growth agenda in spite of some of the initiatives announced yesterday. Critical to this will be the weight and force of the new presumption in favour of sustainable development and the detailed scope and content of the National Planning Policy Framework.

‘We strongly support the Chancellor’s focus on infrastructure improvement, but it is absolutely critical that the anticipated contribution of the Green Investment Bank is realized as soon as possible so that major energy and transport projects can proceed.

‘Equally, the fact that emergency funding for road repairs has been required three times in 15 months highlights a major structural problem with the condition of our roads, which urgently need a sustained improvement in investment. It is illogical to focus on future investment in major projects without an associated focus on repairing our existing public infrastructure. Good roads are good for the economy and good for carbon reduction.’


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