CEA responds to Chancellor’s mini-Budget
Association chief welcomes statement…but hopes it is not a budget of smoke and mirrors
FOLLOWING Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s statement this morning, Suneeta Johal (pictured), chief executive of the Construction Equipment Association (CEA), said: ‘Our industry has welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement today to overhaul planning restrictions and get rid of EU regulations and environmental assessments.
‘The Chancellor said the new Bill will ‘unpick the complex patchwork of planning restrictions and EU-derived laws’. Further announcements are expected in the coming weeks; we hope as an industry he will stick to his pledge of prioritizing infrastructure projects and energy – speeding up building.
‘This announcement is, however, reminiscent of the Government announcing fast-track planning reforms back in December 2020, therefore the jury remains out until we have ‘concrete’ reform plans in place.
‘The announcement of the Government setting up ‘investment zones’ across 38 areas in the UK is also welcome as it will encourage new growth with offers to ‘new’ businesses of zero business rates and stamp duty waived.
‘The decision to make the Annual Investment Allowance, which gives 100% tax relief on investments in plant and machinery to be ‘permanently’ set at £1million is what manufacturers and association representatives have been requesting for some time, so this is most welcome – it’s good to have stability which will allow forward planning and encourage investment.
‘We also welcome the £500 million to support new innovative funds in UK tech and science scale-ups, which will further encourage investment.
‘The reversal of the national insurance rise and the cancellation of the planned rise in corporation tax has been well received. The standard income tax rate deduction to 19p in 2023 is encouraging – but we would have liked to see business rates reduced.
‘The Energy Bill Relief Scheme and wholesale energy prices to be capped for just six months was very disappointing. There is an offer of a review in March 23 for struggling businesses, however this is not enough; business should have been afforded the two-year freeze granted to domestic energy users.
‘This has been hailed as a bold budget for business – we can only hope that this is not a budget of smoke and mirrors from the Government – but a growth plan to release the huge potential in our sector.’