FDF welcomes UK government autumn statement pledging billions for manufacturing investment

The UK’s Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which represents a broad array of sector businesses, including within confectionery and snacks, has welcomed today’s Autumn Statement offering funding for investment in capital equipment, reports Neill Barston.

With the UK anticipated by many market observers to be holding a general election within the next twelve months, anticipation had built ahead of chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s announcements earlier today that there would be tax a range of personal tax reductions and wider incentives to help grow the economy.

While analysts broadly welcomed some of the unveiled content today, it was noted that while national insurance contributions would be reduced by 2%, tax bandings would remain stagnant, in effect creating a fiscal drag of a greater number of people paying a higher rate of tax over the next five years. As has widely been reported, the British population is now facing some of its highest levels of taxation for many decades, with the latest initiatives today in actuality offering little relief from that situation.

However, on a wider corporate level, decisions to enable full expensing, through encouraging investment in machinery and equipment across businesses that can be considered tax deductible.

For its part, the FDF welcomed £4.5 billion funding for British manufacturing available from 2025 for five years, £500 million being placed into AI initiatives, and an announcement that the minimum wage would increase 11.8% to £11.44 an hour, though this figure is still some way short of the national average earnings for the UK.

Speaking in the wake of the autumn statement, Karen Betts, Chief Executive, The Food and Drink Federation said: “As the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, we welcome the Chancellor’s focus on growing the economy and boosting investment. Making full expensing permanent in particular will help to incentivise the investments necessary for companies to innovate and grow, and to continue to provide shoppers with high quality, nutritious and affordable food and drink.

“While the focus is on headline tax rates, it’s vital that government looks at regulation too, which is driving unnecessary and increased costs onto company bottom lines, deterring investment and adding to cost of living pressures for households. This is particularly true as the UK establishes a circular economy, which it’s possible to do at a lower cost and in more efficient ways, as demonstrated by other, competitor economies.

“On advanced manufacturing, we look forward to working with the government on how we best use the £4.5 bn announced to unlock innovative investments in food and drink manufacturing that support the UK’s transition to net zero and strengthen our food security.”

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