The British Ceramic Confederation has cautiously welcomed the Chancellor’s 2020 Spending Review. The announcement that the government is investing £3.7 billion in extra funding to build on the Plan for Jobs and help the economy recover from the impacts of coronavirus is particularly welcomed. Leaders have questioned, however, whether this will provide enough of a boost to help manufacturers return to pre-pandemic levels of output and are concerned at the lack of mention of Brexit within the Chancellor’s speech.
Dr Laura Cohen, Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation, said, “The ceramic sector has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and although some manufacturers have managed to bounce back more quickly, product demand remains highly subdued.
“Those companies supplying into the hospitality, aerospace and construction sectors have been particularly badly affected and although we welcome the extension of the Job Retention Scheme and other financial support schemes, government needs to target its support where it is most needed to help these businesses to rebuild.”
She added, “With 57% of members’ experts going to the EU, an urgent trade deal is vital to help the ceramic manufacturing sector bounce back from Covid-19 and tackle our challenge of decarbonising while staying internationally competitive. A no-deal Brexit would be devastating for our industry.”
The announcement of £2.2 billion of new loan finance for house builders within the Spending Review is also welcome and should provide a much-needed boost to house builders and construction products suppliers, including UK manufacturers of bricks, clay roof and ceramic wall tiles, clay drainage pipes and sanitaryware.
Dr Cohen added, “The government’s plans to continue investing in house building is welcomed, however, it will be crucial that UK ceramic manufactured products rather than imports contribute to building our durable, sustainable homes.”
Other announcements of note for manufacturers included £240 million to support the production of low-carbon hydrogen at scale, an extra £200 million of new funding for Carbon Capture and Storage and a new £200 million Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) to accelerate near-to-market low-carbon energy innovations.
Dr Cohen added, “We support government’s Net Zero ambition and aspirational target. As an energy intensive industry, we need a genuine partnership with government to develop decarbonisation technologies for the ceramics sector. These and green energy supplies need to be affordable for our sector to be internationally competitive.”
For further information please contact: Laura Cohen, Chief Executive, British Ceramic Confederation, Federation House, Station Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2SA.
Tel: 01782 572845 M: 07827 358613
Notes to editors
The British Ceramic Confederation is the trade association for the UK ceramic manufacturing industry, representing the common and collective interests of all sectors of the industry. Its member companies cover the full spectrum of ceramic manufacturing, including the supply of materials, and comprise over 90% of the industry’s manufacturing capacity.