As someone with a long-standing interest in manufacturing, based on having over 50 years’ experience as an engineer and employer in industry, I am very excited to be a member of the newly formed Liberal Democrat Campaign for Manufacturing Group.
This much-needed group aims to promote and develop manufacturing in the UK in both existing and new areas. Whilst we have a manufacturing sector to be proud of, it does require investment. Energising this sector is key to getting the economy back on track in the current difficult economic climate.
The Liberal Democrats have already delivered a number of key policies to support manufacturing, but we have to do more if we want the sector to play a key role in the economic recovery. We need to be making more in Britain, and we need pro-active policies that increase industrial capacity, and create new jobs.
A key initiative that the group will be promoting over the coming months is the introduction of a 100% capital allowance on all capital purchases for a fixed 2 year period. This will encourage companies to draw on substantial cash reserves to invest in new capital assets, rather than sitting on reserves or delaying or shelving investment decisions. It provides a short-term financial incentive by allowing capital investment to be paid for completely out of profits. The Treasury will see a reduced corporation tax income from manufacturers for a 2 year period, increased income after that, and increased PAYE income from the additional employment that comes from a growing manufacturing sector.
In my view, if the Government wishes to see substantial growth in the economy over the next two years it needs to show confidence in its growth programme. Adopting this measure would, I believe, give confidence to manufacturing companies to invest and we all accept investment is the key to growth. I see this as a very critical issue and as time is short the measure should be introduced in the Autumn Statement at the latest if we wish to see growth in the economy over the next eighteen months.
The Liberal Democrat Campaign for Manufacturing Group benefits from support from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, who will be speaking at the launch of the Group, which will take place at Liberal Democrat Conference in Arundel Room 2, Holiday Inn, Brighton on Tuesday 25 September from 6.15 – 7.30pm.
You can find out more about the group on our website here and keep up-to-date with our activities on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to get involved please contact William Hobhouse at this address: [email protected].
* Gordon Birtwistle is Member of Parliament for Burnley, Chair of Lib Dem Parliamentary Committee on Business, Innovation and Skills, co-founder of the Lib Dem Campaign for Manufacturing and and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships.