CBI and EEF back Chancellor’s focus on boosting skills and productivity

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI.
Picture: Ben Watkins

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI. Picture: Ben Watkins - Credit: Archant

Groups representing big business and manufacturing welcomed the Chancellor’s focus on skills and productivity.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general at the CBI said: “This is a breakthrough Budget for skills. There has never been a more important time for the UK to sit at the global top table of technical education for young people.

“Firms will be looking for ongoing partnership with the Government as they try to make the Apprenticeship Levy work.

“However, with inflation rising and the cumulative burden weighing on businesses’ shoulders, limited relief for firms hit hard by business rates falls short.”

However, she added: “Firms are wholly committed to the health and wellbeing of their people, and are pleased to see an increase in spending on social care.”

Charlotte Horobin, interim region director for the manufacturers’ organisation EEF in the East of England, said of the Budget: “This statement shows Government sticking with the challenge of raising productivity levels in the UK economy, this alignment with the industrial strategy priorities will be welcomed by businesses as demonstrating signs of much-needed cross-government coherence.

“While this Budget doesn’t have all the answers to our future growth challenges, the evolution of the R&D tax credit, action on digital infrastructure and regional road networks, together with additional investment in technical skills and lifelong learning is a solid foundation on which future statements must build.

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“Manufacturers will, however, be very frustrated by the positive headlines that might be generated by the action on Business rates which did not extend to the removal of plant and machinery that could have added further to the overall productivity package.”