How the Autumn Statement affects UK industry

Chancellor George Osborne laid out spending plans for industry, energy research, infrastructure and apprenticeships in his recent Autumn Statement. PIF explores some of the major announcements likely to affect the engineering sector in one way or another.

Autumn Statement

George Osborne's Autumn Statement revealed a raft of spending plans, many of which will have direct consequences for several key sectors within industry.

How the Autumn Statement affects UK industry

Here is a brief overview of some of the major spending plans that will send ripples, both positive and negative, across Britain’s engineering sector.

  • Spending on energy research will double.
  • Support for low carbon electricity and renewables will more than double.
  • The sale of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles will continue to be supported.
  • Removal of the diesel supplement from company cars will be delayed until 2021.
  • The Renewable Heat Incentive will be reformed to save £700 million.
  • Business rates will be devolved to local councils for specific infrastructure projects.

Investing in the long term economic infrastructure of our country

As part of his parliamentary address, George Osborne said: “Investing in the long term economic infrastructure of our country is a goal of this Spending Review, and there is no more important infrastructure than energy. So we’re doubling our spending on energy research with a major commitment to small modular nuclear reactors.

We’re also supporting the creation of the shale gas industry by ensuring that communities benefit from a Shale Wealth Fund, which could be worth up to £1 billion. Support for low-carbon electricity and renewables will more than double

The Chancellor also announced that the Department for Transport's capital spending will be doubled to £61 billion. “It means the construction of HS2 to link the Northern Powerhouse to the south can begin. The electrification of lines like the Trans-Pennine, Midland Main Line and Great Western can go ahead. We’ll fund our new Transport for the North to get it up and running,” he said.

The chancellor also committed to boosting support for the UK's aerospace and automotive industries over the next five years. Spending on the new catapult centres will increase, and cash support from Innovate UK will be ring-fenced.

"In this Parliament I’m protecting it (the science budget) in real terms, so it rises to £4.7 billion. That’s £500 million more by the end of the decade. Alongside £6.9 billion in the capital budget too,” he added.

Stimulation of breakthrough technologies

“The UK’s aerospace industry will benefit from today’s government decision to prioritise long-term funding for the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI),” Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS Group, told the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

“The ATI, a successful initiative of the Aerospace Growth Partnership providing strategic focus and funding for aerospace R&D, is changing global perceptions of the UK as a place to invest.

“Today’s announcement will give UK industry confidence to continue investing in the stimulation of breakthrough technologies which lead to a larger share of the export market, higher productivity and deliver greater economic returns,” he added.

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