Industry trade

UK manufacturers hit back at claims companies are too reliant on foreign labor | Manufacturing sector

The UK Manufacturers ‘Trade Body has hit back at ministers’ accusations that companies have relied on cheap foreign labor for too long, urging them to partner with companies instead of seeing them ‘as the’ enemy within ”.

Make UK calls on the government to recognize the challenges they face – including supply chain disruptions and staff shortages such as heavy truck drivers – rather than blaming them at a time when they also face soaring costs, including for energy and raw materials.

He urges them to improve cooperation with industry to ensure businesses can recover from Brexit and the pandemic, and enable businesses to invest and grow over the next decade.

In a speech ahead of the Chancellor’s budget this month and in a marked change of tone for the organization, Make UK said the manufacturing sector felt the government was not working with them in a “spirit of partnership”.

The organization has urged the government to abandon Brexit, said Stephen Phipson, its chief executive. “Right now there is a feeling within the industry that the government is still fighting the last war and seeing business as the enemy within,” he said.

“Business has evolved and government must do the same, working in a spirit of partnership with industry to develop a longer-term economic plan whose core principle is the creation of businesses and wealth.

“Growth is the right way to make the most of the opportunities available to us and get the job done. “

Phipson added, “To encourage investment in the technology and skills we need to make this realistically happen, the government needs to set a long-term vision for the economy that works in business sense to make it happen. promote growth and wealth creation, not against it. “

Faced with calls from the government to invest in training more domestic workers, manufacturing companies insist that they do not depend on cheap labor and that the highly skilled sector pays. already more than the national average. Make UK found that almost half (47%) of companies plan to hire an apprentice this year.

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The manufacturing sector is expected to grow 7% this year and just over 4% in 2022, but the trade body warns it will not rebound to pre-pandemic levels if the government increases the tax burden on producers .

Companies are asking Rishi Sunak to extend the super-deduction tax break – which allows large companies to offset 130% of investment spending on factories and machinery against profits – beyond March 2023.

They are asking the government to change the system of corporate tariffs, so that installations and machinery are not included in the calculations. They are also asking for more support, such as VAT relief, for small businesses in intensive or high-energy commodity supply chains.

A Treasury spokesperson said: ‘We have supported businesses throughout the pandemic with our £ 400bn support package, including our jobs plan, corporate rate relief. , grants and loans – and it works, with GDP recovering quickly, unemployment falling and payroll numbers back to pre-pandemic levels.

“We continue to support businesses, including through the super deduction – the biggest business tax cut in two years in UK history – and investments in infrastructure, skills and innovation. “

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