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Industry responds to the 2017 Budget statement

23 November 2017

Following Chancellor Philip Hammond's Budget 2017 statement yesterday, a number of industry commentators have responded.

Seen as a cautious announcement by many, the various points included have resulted in a mixed reaction.

Among the more supportive was the response from the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), which welcomed support for the existing Total Carbon Price support mechanism.

Director Dr Tim Rotheray said this sends "a clear signal to business energy users on the benefits of efficient onsite generation and energy efficiency which drive reduced costs and carbon emissions to support a globally competitive industry".

He further stated that longer term development of carbon taxation arrangements must be further developed, however, and called for more clarity on government support for the Clean Growth Strategy.

While many workers welcomed the raising of the National Living Wage rate, Textile Services Association chief executive Dr Philip Wright said this would add further pressure to NHS budgets.

He further stated that a wage increase "significantly above inflation" will add more pressure to his association's members having to deal with increased prices for machinery, linen and cleaning chemicals.

BIFM chief executive officer Linda Hausmanis supported the emphasis on skills and training to improve UK productivity, but said the government needs to recognise failings in the system, especially within the Apprenticeship Levy.

"In its current form, the levy is failing to deliver FM apprenticeships due to complex, lengthy decision-making and a focus on process, not outcomes," she said.

Ms Hausmanis also referred to unrealistic funding band decisions, which continue to cause delays in apprenticeships decisions and called for the government to "look again at how funding is allocated" to the FM sector.

EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler said commitment to a comprehensive industrial strategy was a "welcome stiffener" for business and the promise to develop an implementation plan ahead of Brexit was also welcomed.

He also welcomed the extension of the National Productivity Fund for another year, with £31bn allocated to upgrade economic infrastructure.

Overall, the Budget has received a muted reception to date, although experts are continuing to analyse the potential impact with calls for more detail on a number of topics, including those stated above.

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