Business chiefs demand action plan

ManufacturingBusiness groups are pressing the Government to use next month's Autumn Statement to help firms recover from the recession through a "clear plan of action".

The EEF manufacturers' organisation said a stronger economy should be based on increased investment and exports as it called for action on tax and banks.

The group said a switch from current to capital spending was needed rather than further austerity, to finance much-needed investment in infrastructure.

EEF Chief Executive Terry Scuoler said: "Despite a better third quarter, our economy has shown no growth in the past year and business investment remains 15% below its pre-recession peak. There's little that the Government can do about the world economy but there's a lot it can do at home.

"In recent months, the Government has been more vocal about the need for growth and importance of speeding up delivery. The Autumn Statement now needs to match these good intentions by providing some clarity on how this will happen.

"It should start by being clear on its ambitions for the economy in a way that will drive action across Whitehall and send a clear signal to business about its intentions."

John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "At the half-way point of the Parliament, the Government will be judged on its actions. There is no argument that they've had a tough economic backdrop to work with, but small firms are still feeling the pressure, so need a clear plan for growth to get them back on track is needed.

"Small business policymaking has been subject to a range of confusing patchwork approaches that have often had minimal impact on the ground.

"We want to see a clear plan of action from the Chancellor which he can take forward to Budget 2013, which will detail the long-term support small firms need.

"Key to this is going to be the small business bank and eventually how it can become the Small Business Administration supporting small businesses over the long-term."
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