October’s PMI for UK manufacturing recorded the sector’s best month for output growth since June 2014, and with it came calls for the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review to help maintain this progress.
Commenting on the data from Markit/CIPS Tom Bouchier, managing director, FANUC UK said: “As we enter November we’ll continue to see a substantial growth in output. Investments in new and emerging technologies will become essential to deal with this, increasing the efficiency of production output.
“The upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review will provide George Osborne with an opportunity to further support this growth, with infrastructure investment, employment, and living standards already to be revealed as high on the government’s agenda.”
Echoing Bouchier’s call, EEF today published its submission to the Treasury, warning that the nation risks “entering the industrial slow-lane if support for innovation and hi-tech research is slashed in the forthcoming Spending Review”.
EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler acknowledges that the chancellor is in something of a predicament given the tasks of reducing the deficit, supporting growth in productivity, delivering quality public services, and a more efficient government.
“Manufacturers stand behind these goals, but a much more challenging growth outlook since the summer means the Chancellor’s statement must also deliver a stable and supportive business environment for our vital industries,” Scuoler said in a statement.
EEF today called on government to increase its support for Innovate UK and provide UKTI with the means to maintain its role as a provider of bespoke advice and guidance to companies looking to export.
Further recommendations in EEF’s Spending Review submission to the Treasury:
Infrastructure – funding for both national and local roads should be protected, with no further diversion of money from roads into railways
Devolution – Local Growth Deals and the Single Local Growth Fund should continue as a competitive funding stream.
Pensions – alterations to the current taxation basis for pension saving, whereby contributions to pensions and the growth in pension funds are both tax exempt, but income is taxed at the individual’s marginal rate. The loss of the relief would be an unbudgeted, substantial and additional business cost.
Business rates – change how rateable values are calculated for business rates purposes. The inclusion of installed plant and machinery, as part of the calculation, represents a tax on productive investment – we recommend that plant and machinery should no longer be included.
“Government has a successful track record of working closely with businesses to support innovation. This backing is vital to research programmes which help keep British businesses at the forefront of new ideas, and critically, able to transfer those ideas into commercial successes. While we recognise the difficult fiscal environment the government faces, reducing spending on innovation would harm efforts to improve productivity, which is the key to longer-term economic stability,” Scuoler said.
Results from the Comprehensive Spending Review will be announced on November 25, 2015.
On lighter note, a certain Davinia Richardson has been in touch to ask: Do you have a friend who is always tinkering away in their garden shed, developing and making unique creations?
Davinia asks this in relation to a new BBC Two series called Britain’s Most Spectacular Backyard Builds, a run of programmes that will celebrate Britain’s most passionate inventors, makers, engineers and ‘tinkerers’.
In an email, Davinia said the programme is for anybody who loves to create their own inventions, be it an 8 year old who is keen on science, or an octogenarian hobbyist inventor.
She added that the series will be “a celebration of engineering, invention and innovation and this is a great opportunity for hobbyist inventors, engineers and makers across the country to take part in something magnificent.”
If this sounds like you, or someone you know, then email RDF Television on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the BBC website to download an application form http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/takepart/most_spectacular_backyard_builds
Finally, congratulations to the winners of The Structural Awards 2015, which were announced last Friday in London. Organised each year by The Institution of Structural Engineers, the awards acknowledge outstanding achievements by structural engineers from all over the world.
As noted by Martin Powell, chief executive of The Institution of Structural Engineers, the awards show how structural engineers are preserving engineering heritage, finding solutions to the complex demands of the modern world, and shaping the future of urban environments.
The Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence went to the Singapore Sports Hub, which is home to the world’s largest free-spanning dome.