IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione responds to today's Spring Budget:
"We are pleased to see the Chancellor announce policies which will further strengthen levelling up in the nations and regions, which we called for in our letter to him prior to the Spring Budget. These new powers for UK mayors and combined authorities in skills, energy and infrastructure will benefit businesses and exporters while helping to address regional inequalities.
"The 12 new investment zones will also accelerate much needed research and development in the UK’s ‘most budding industries’ and this is essential to ensure the UK remains competitive in trade in services.
"Over 50% of our members are in the manufacturing industry and they will be looking closely what opportunities these investment zones will mean for them. We also look forward to providing insights and feedback to the government, in the coming months, in relation to their announced package of measures intended to simplify customs import and export processes for traders.
"However, despite many positives in the Budget, we hoped to see more specific support for MSMEs. A targeted industrial strategy which brings together a clearly defined import and export strategy is essential to this and the recent formation of the Department for Business and Trade should be an opportune moment to make this happen.
"We will continue to make representations to government to make this a reality and to discuss the formation of a specific government taskforce which considers the needs of MSME exporters in particular."