Following the Autumn Statement, Marco Forgione, the Director General of the Institute of Export and International Trade, said: “The announcement of the extension of tax reliefs for freeports is exactly right and provides certainty for the businesses which were considering investing in them. Freeports now have the opportunity to take long-term decisions and play a key role in attracting more investment into the UK. The new investment zones, all focused around advanced manufacturing, will strengthen the UK’s position as a leading manufacturing nation.
The announcements on national insurance, business rates and full capital expensing are all very positive and welcomed by our members. However, it is clear from the Office for Budget Responsibility that growth is still constrained. Our members, and the wider business community, will be looking for much more in the spring which encourages investment and supports UK businesses, who are the backbone of UK growth.
The failure to define a clear plan for business growth including an import strategy, linked to the current export strategy, was a missed opportunity. However, we welcome the commitment that the government will work closely with businesses to improve the apprenticeship system to meet the needs of learners, employers and training providers. It is vital to make it easier for more micro, small and medium sized businesses to employ apprentices. Real growth and economic security can only be achieved through unlocking the potential of international trade in every town, city and region of the UK.”