The Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM) says the chancellor has missed an opportunity to protect thousands of manufacturing positions by not implementing industry stimulus packages and failing to adopt a reverse job retention scheme.
President Steve Morley said latest talks with its members underlined the need for urgent support to the automotive and aerospace sectors if they are going to recover from the economic shock of Covid-19.
Suppliers to the automotive sector were broadly in favour of a similar scrappage scheme to the one seen in 2009, whilst manufacturers of parts for aircraft are predicting an 18-month lag until some form of recovery is seen.
The CBM is also calling on the chancellor to look at a reverse job retention scheme that would see the money used for furlough given to employers to subsidise wages to take staff back on and then the financial support tapers off as work increases.
“There were some very welcome measures introduced in the statement, but we don’t think they went far enough to support manufacturing, who are dealing with an unprecedented fall in demand,” explained Mr Morley. “The scrappage scheme was one option, but I’m led to believe HM Treasury are sceptical on how effective the previous scheme was.”
He continued: “So if this isn’t an option then we need to potentially look at a substantial widespread VAT cut to get the market moving and this decision needs to be taken sooner rather than later. There’s so much potential in automotive, especially with the way the UK is leading the rest of the world in electrification and driverless technologies.
“The same applies with aerospace and the best way we can get this going again is for government to get people safely travelling by air. We’re not sure air bridges are enough on their own.”
The CBM has been a strong advocate of a reverse job retention scheme and this was presented to the government.
Mr Morley added: “The job retention bonus favours the larger firms who have 100s on furlough and I’m not convinced £1000 is a big enough incentive to stop companies from making the cuts. We needed a longer-term, more structured approach that delivers job security and gives businesses time to plan.”