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Autumn Statement must combat declining business investment, says mineral products industry

Mineral Products Association

3 min read Partner content

 It is critical that the Autumn Statement concentrates on measures to support industry, economic growth and productivity, says the Mineral Product Association. 

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is calling on Government to take action in the Autumn Statement to boost construction activity, productivity and economic growth. The MPA representations indicate that the construction market has more positive momentum than official data would suggest, but that declining business investment and lower real wage growth could constrain construction and economic activity in 2017 and 2018.
MPA highlights the lack of consistent growth across Great Britain since the 2008/9 recession and the pressing need for a more strategic and consistent approach to regional economies. MPA uses ready – mixed concrete sales volumes as a proxy for construction, which in turn reflects regional development and growth, showing that the London market is 40% higher than pre-recession, but in every other region of Great Britain markets are at least 20% below pre-recession levels, to illustrate the extent to which recovery has been skewed towards London.
The MPA sets out key priorities for the economy and the construction and mineral products industries including:
  • Boosting overall infrastructure investment.

  • Accelerating the delivery of Government’s Road Investment Strategy, taking the opportunity to bring forward smaller scale spending and notably the motorway and trunk road renewal programme.

  • Future-proofing energy supply, by positive action to deliver more generating capacity and to progress Carbon Capture and Storage.

  • Increasing housebuilding, notably for affordable housing.

  • Introducing a significant and time-limited increase in Annual Investment Allowances and extending the scope of allowances to include buildings could provide significant additional incentives for business investment.

  • Simulate Regional Economic Activity through an effective industrial strategy.

  • Freezing and amending the Aggregates Levy, particularly to capture the aggregates content of UK imports of concrete products and therefore create a level playing field with UK producers and introducing an Aggregates Levy Community and Biodiversity Fund in England.

  • Protecting the competitiveness of Energy Intensive Industries in the UK such as cement and lime.

  • Reshaping the Apprenticeship Levy, so that it can work as an effective mechanism for increasing skills rather than just as a business tax.

  • Implementing the Red Tape review of mineral extraction so that real and meaningful regulatory efficiencies can be delivered.

  • Making Brexit work, including the need to sustain as much access as possible to the single market and to maintain access to EU citizens with appropriate skills.Brexit work, including the need to sustain as much access as possible to the single market and to maintain access to EU citizens with appropriate skills.

Nigel Jackson, MPA Chief Executive commented: “It is critical that the Autumn Statement concentrates on measures to support industry, economic growth and productivity and to strengthen confidence to invest. We may be unclear and uncertain about the outcome and consequences of Brexit but we can be clear and certain of what needs to be done now to boost the UK’s open economy, international competitiveness and this is the focus of the MPA’s proposals.”

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