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MTA calls for more Government support for industry

06 March, 2009

The Manufacturing Technologies Association is calling on the Government to support the industry as a key driver for a future balanced economy, and not to penalise the industry for the failings of others. The plea was made by MTA president Bob Hunt in his address to the Association’s annual dinner this month.

Hunt (above) said that manufacturing is the route to returning the country prosperity, but that manufacturers and the Government need to take the lead to create demand. He asked the Government to take further measures to stimulate the economy, to give less emphasis to recruitment and more to retaining existing staff, and to re-introduce temporary short-time working subsidies as an alternative to unemployment benefits.

“The financial system’s failure is causing our sector major problems,” Hunt declared. “But we can’t cast off the system, neither should we want to. We must work with the banks and the Government through this crisis, while at the same time making sure that we are not penalised for the failings of others.

“Manufacturing needs a strong voice in these discussions,” he continued. “Our trade earnings are central to our economy, and must not be viewed as peripheral to the country’s needs. Manufacturing is key to a future balanced economy.”
Hunt was critical of some of the Government’s current aid packages for business. “The Government has introduced a number of initiatives aimed at supporting industry in these difficult times,” he explained, “however we have to seriously question their impact. Billions of pounds of our money have been thrown at the problem but, to date, we are far from convinced that the core issue has been addressed.”

Hunt reported that, despite the aid, the industrial sector is still finding finance difficult to obtain. He noted that although the cut in VAT had been badly received by industry and public alike, the Government has not re-visited it. Instead, he called for a more direct stimulus to demand for housing, white goods and cars to kick-start the economy.
“To Government we say: give manufacturing the tools, and we will finish the job,” the MTA president concluded.

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