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FDF: No surprises please Darling!

10 March 2010

The UK’s biggest manufacturing sector is urging the Chancellor to ensure his Budget on 24 March contains no more surprise burdens for businesses as they start to emerge from the recession

Melanie Leech, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation, says:  “Despite the fragility of the economic recovery, regulatory pressures and tax burdens on our members continue to grow, while important business incentives are being cut.

“The Chancellor could also send a powerful signal to employers that he is prioritising job creation by reversing the decision to increase National Insurance Contributions from 2011. This proposed increase will place another unnecessary burden on businesses – on top of the raft of new employment regulations coming our way.

“The Pre-Budget Report last December announced totally unexpected and unwelcome changes to the Climate Change Levy discount arrangements and there is currently fresh uncertainty over plans for Renewable Heat Incentives - we hope the Budget will provide clarity over green taxes with a view to provide real incentives to increase resource efficiency without damaging competitiveness. 

“The food sector is not only the UK's largest manufacturing industry1 – accounting for 14% of output – it is one of the few that has weathered the worst of the recession, helping to underpin overall economic activity. Our sector is one of the few industries that continued to grow exports in the past 12 months.

“Food and drink manufacturing is both a strategic and an economically vital component of the UK economy. If the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector is to keep playing a positive role in supporting economic recovery, we would strongly urge the Chancellor to listen to our concerns and ensure his Budget places no additional burdens on the food and drink sector.”

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