A regional business leader is calling on the Chancellor to keep the needs of smaller manufacturers central to his Budget on Wednesday as planning to deal with Covid-19 takes hold.
Neil Lloyd, who assumes the role of Managing Director at law firm FBC Manby Bowdler on April 1, believes that the current economic climate provides small and medium sized manufacturers with opportunities, but that they need to be supported in order to successfully do so. He comments:
“Whilst Covid-19 is sending shockwaves throughout the business world, it is also providing opportunities. For manufacturers, it is possible that their overseas supply chains have been impacted and so re-shoring becomes an option to pursue – that, in itself, is an opportunity to seize.
“However, to do so successfully and as a long-term measure, rather than just as a knee-jerk response, it will require a shift in how we tackle productivity. Simply, investment in technology needs to be facilitated. To do this, Annual Investment Allowances need to be lengthened or the type of assets that qualify for First Year Allowances increased.”
The need to support UK manufacturing isn’t, however, just a medium to long-term need and there are immediate areas where the Chancellor can demonstrate support for this vital part of the UK economy. Neil continues:
“Last week, the Government announced that Statutory Sick Pay would impact from day 1, rather than day 4. This is great news for the employees who could benefit, but with businesses being left liable for the cost, it could prove to be an additional pressure at a time of already heightened disruption. I’d like to see Government commit to cover these three days.
“Of course, a cut to the Base Rate would be welcomed across the entire business community given it’s likely positive impact on investment and growth. I’d personally also like to see the Business Growth Fund come back on to the agenda given the positive impact it had previously on creating jobs and enabling businesses to grow.”