Whilst last night’s (10 April 2019) European Council decision to agree a new departure date of 31 October 2019 for the UK’s exit from the European Union avoids the imminent danger of no-deal, it does further extend the uncertainty for business. Parliament urgently needs to find a swift solution and not simply use the next six months for further delay. The agreed deal with the European Union that covers our departure arrangements and sets a direction for a future relationship has to be secured as soon as possible. This will not only benefit business, including the chemical sector, but communities throughout the country.
The continued failure of our political parties to agree a way forward will, in time, negatively affect business confidence to invest in the UK and economic support to those communities. A further prolonged period of uncertainty is damaging for chemical businesses who, almost three years on from the referendum vote, still have no greater clarity on the final outcome and with many of them still sitting with their fingers on the pause button, at best, in terms of investment decisions.
A speedy, agreed way forward has the potential to provide new thinking and new opportunities. In the weeks ahead, it is critical we send a message to Europe and to the wider world that the UK is open for business. For chemical companies that means securing as quickly as possible a deal that avoids tariff and non-tariff barriers; provides regulatory continuity and ensures continued access to skilled people. As Britain’s biggest manufacturing exporter, we stand ready to support that process, as we have been doing since the day after the referendum. All politicians now need to show collective responsibility - a quality that has been sadly lacking - to lead and deliver a solution for our country that helps boost business confidence and greater investment in the UK.
For further information, please contact CIA's Simon Marsh on 07951 389197 or [email protected]
About the UK chemical industry
- The chemical and pharmaceutical industry adds £18 billion of value to the UK economy every year from total annual turnover of £50 billion.
- In addition to gross value added, the sector also contributes to the UK economy in its position at the head of many supply chains within manufacturing and its employment of a well remunerated, high-skilled workforce. We support 500,000 jobs both directly and indirectly Chemical manufacturing adds £9 billion in gross value added annually and pharmaceutical manufacturing £9 billion.
- The wider chemical and pharmaceutical sector (manufacturing plus distribution) is the largest exporter of manufactured goods with annual exports of over £50 billion. The export of motor vehicle, trailers and semi-trailers is the sector with next highest exports of £35 billion. Aerospace is £32 billion.
- 63% of companies in the sector export what they make to the world, the highest proportion of any goods manufacturing sector in the UK economy. 60% of our exports go to the European Union and 75% of our imports and raw materials come from the European Union.
- The sector’s level of business investment is £4.3 billion, compared to automotive £2.7 billion and aerospace £2.1 billion, while the expenditure on research & development is £5.0 billion (automotive £2.7 billion and aerospace £2.1 billion).
- The products and technologies of the Chemical industry are essential parts of medicines, food & drink, telecommunications, energy-saving, I.T, clothing and much more.
- For every tonne of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emitted, our products and technologies enable over 2 tonnes of GHG emissions savings.