CHEMICAL BOSS CALLS FOR URGENT GOVERNMENT ACTION
20 February 2009
CHEMICAL BOSS CALLS FOR URGENT GOVERNMENT ACTION ON INVESTMENT, THE GREEN ECONOMY AND SKILLS
The Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), Steve Elliott demanded that well intentioned words are turned into urgent government action to rebalance the economy.
In a speech to chemical and pharmaceutical business leaders in the northwest of England, Steve outlined the submission sent to Chancellor Alistair Darling in advance of the government budget statement on 22 April.
The budget submission from the CIA points out that government is saying all the right things about green technology, training people and attracting investment but there are urgent measures which could and should be taken.
In pointing to the economic and environmental contribution of the chemical sector, Elliott said "chemical and pharmaceutical businesses in the UK represent a £60 billion industry. Every single day for the past decade the sector has added £20 million to the UK balance of trade, while the rest of manufacturing has shown a £200 million daily deficit. At the same time we are making products that help fight climate change and as an industry we have reduced our CO2 emissions by 35 percent in less than 20 years. This is an industry that matters to UK plc and to society at large."
In nine separate areas ranging from attracting investment, to renewed environmental incentives and to skills training for the future, CIA has said action will make businesses invest, not words. The CIA is calling for:
1. Credit insurance needs to be underpinned by the government for short term economic survival of businesses.
2 Attracting investment into our economy - by transforming the way that Government supports potential investors in the UK and the government should benchmark the UK against our competitor countries on business taxation.
3 Capital Investment Allowance increased - the annual capital investment which businesses can immediately write off for taxation purposes now stands at £50,000 we are calling for an increase to £250,000 - at least for a temporary period.
4 Incentivise the creation and ownership of intellectual property - innovation is essential for the chemicals sector and the UK needs the system many other countries operate whereby companies who register intellectual property are then given every fiscal encouragement to turn those ideas and inventions to production.
THE GREEN ECONOMY
5 Climate change agreements - the CIA was one of the first signatories to a Climate Change Agreement (CCA) which are a positive motivator and we need on-going support at national and European level for these valuable schemes.
6 Energy security - the UK has less than two weeks gas storage compared to France and Germany with over 100 days as protection against interrupted supplies, for competitiveness and national security we urgently need new storage facilities.
7 Fiscal support for the green agenda - in a re-ordering of business taxation we would urge government to deliver taxation incentives for business whose products and processes help others to reduce the carbon footprint.
8 Skills investment - the chemical industry relies on a highly skilled workforce and as we come out of the recession the UK wide shortage of STEM skills will hamper our recovery and future innovation. We need government to support skills and Government needs to help industry to make temporary layoffs to survive in the shorterm.
9 Pension provision - many companies are facing demands for grossly increased premiums for the Pension Protection Fund in impossible timescale, on a short-term basis the Government must partially or wholly underwrite the costs.
Contact Name: Fiona Ferguson