MPA welcomes the Chancellor’s continuing emphasis on promoting investment set out in his Autumn Budget. The confirmation of the National Roads Fund and financing of Road Investment Strategy 2, the development of the National Productivity Investment Fund and further measures to increase housing supply are significant policies for the construction and minerals products industries, although delivery will of course be the key policy test.
In the short term, the additional funding for local road maintenance acknowledges the scale of disrepair and should be the first step towards more sustainable levels of local road funding in the 2019 spending review.
The further freeze in the Aggregates Levy rate at £2 per tonne in 2019/20 is also welcomed, although the stated policy of future indexation does not reflect the lack of environmental justification for the Levy. We remain concerned at the vulnerability of UK Energy Intensive Industries such as cement and lime to planned and potential carbon taxation.
MPA Chief Executive Nigel Jackson said:
“The Chancellor has huge challenges to address and the OBR’s forecast that GDP per capita will rise by less than 1% pa to 2023 is a sobering backdrop. In these circumstances it is more critical than ever that the measures announced to sustain and increase public and private investment are implemented and that Government remains mindful of the need to minimise business costs. Forecast economic growth remains lack lustre and there is no room for complacency particularly given the current assumptions the Chancellor has made with regards to Brexit. Boosting growth and building investment confidence must remain of paramount importance.”