NigelThe GGF welcomed some of the announcements in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement yesterday but were concerned that several key issues were not being fully addressed to help GGF Members and the wider industry.

In conjunction with political engagement firm GK Strategy’s analysis, the positives identified were:

  • Petrol taxes to stay frozen – a planned rise of 2p per litre for next year is to be cancelled
  • Business rates in England to be capped at 2% rather than linked to RPI inflation, with some retail premises in England to get a discount. Businesses moving into vacant high-street properties will have their rates cut by 50%
  • Energy efficiency grants linked to stamp duty
  • Private landlords’ support to improve the energy efficiency of their premises
  • An additional 20,000 apprenticeships are to be funded over the next two years
  • The abolition of employers’ National Insurance Contributions for under 21s will mean it will be cheaper to employ young people
  • The initiatives to increase house building as the Government hopes £1bn in loans will boost housing developments in Manchester and Leeds, among other sites
  • Councils to sell off the most expensive social housing and rundown urban housing estates to be regenerated, which will mean more funding for refurbishment work in the social housing sector
  • Export finance capacity available to support British businesses will be doubled to £50bn

Nigel Rees, GGF Group Chief Executive commented. “There are many reasons for optimism following the Chancellor’s announcements, but we are concerned that several key issues were simply not addressed. It’s unclear, for example, how the Government will fund the installation of vital energy efficiency products in the homes of people currently living in fuel poverty and who will be disproportionately impacted by a reduction in ECO (Energy Company Obligation). ECO is the one green initiative that seems to be working and diminishing the scheme is counter-productive for all concerned.”

Giles Willson, GGF Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Technical Affairs added, “I am pleased to see a boost for companies who are employing or looking to employ young people. However, the Government has yet again missed the big opportunity to tackle the issue of reducing the VAT from 20% to 5% on energy efficient windows. Many other energy efficient products are at the 5% rate of VAT, it is unfair that energy efficient windows are not given parity.”

Other areas of concern for the GGF included, the ambiguity on the “Help to Buy Scheme” and the lack of support or relief from Government for energy intensive manufacturers.

Nigel Rees continued, “The Chancellor made no mention of relief for energy intensive manufacturers and this is concerning. It seems the Government has not considered the implications for manufacturers who are faced with year on year rising energy costs.”

The GGF will continue to raise these areas of concern directly with the relevant Government Departments, on behalf of GGF Members and the wider industry.

To read the full Autumn Statement please click here