British Ceramic Confederation statement – Spring Budget 2023
The Chancellor’s Spring Budget does have some positives, especially its employment and investment initiatives. However, it still does not provide targeted support for essential industries, such as UK ceramics, that are committed to decarbonisation.
British Ceramic Confederation Chief Executive Rob Flello said: “As an industry that is facing staffing shortages and skills challenges, the Chancellor’s move to encourage more people back into the workplace, especially the ‘returnerships’ for the over-55s, is to be welcomed.
“UK ceramics manufacturing is a forward-thinking progressive industry that can offer people a career, not just a job. It is an industry that offers the chance to improve skills continually and encourages personal growth. We hope UK manufacturing will figure strongly in these new initiatives.
“We also note the timely introduction of full capital expensing. The finer detail needs to be examined on what the qualifying plant and machinery is, but UK ceramics is an industry that is focused on decarbonisation, with companies already investing £600m of their own money into decarbonisation projects over the past 10 years. Therefore, any support on further investment is to be welcomed, as is the extension of the Climate Change Agreement for two years.
“Electricity could be a route to decarbonisation for some ceramic manufacturers, therefore the announcement of Great British Nuclear sounds promising. However, all evidence shows that the national grid cannot cope with the additional demands that will be placed upon it.
“Funding for deployment of Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) is good but the Government needs to look closely at UK ceramics manufacturers that are not in the CCUS clusters, which includes the vast majority of our members.
“We strongly believe that an open-access funding programme that proactively works with manufacturers and suppliers, particularly SMEs, is needed – one which is focused on ‘dispersed’ sites that are unable to access decarbonisation support that is targeted at industrial clusters.
“It is time the Government recognises that the essential contribution UK ceramics makes to decarbonisation goes beyond the sector’s own net zero transition.
“Without ceramics, the production of renewable energy is hampered as, without refractories, there is no steel for wind turbines and no glass for photovoltaic panels. Ceramics are needed for electric vehicle batteries. Without high temperature industrial processes, there are no durable homes or commercial properties. There is no heat from waste without advanced ceramics.
“UK ceramics is critical to UK manufacturing, construction, and net zero and Government needs to provide more targeted support.”