BESA and ECA call for measures to boost investment in clean and digital technology in Autumn Statement
In advance of this month’s Autumn Statement, the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) have called on Chancellor Philip Hammond MP to prioritise investment in new digital technology and clean energy, and to provide greater support for SMEs.
The two building services engineering trade bodies have issued a four-point plan to the Treasury, urging these measures be prioritised in the Autumn Statement:
- Significantly boost government and private sector spending on research and development, through a major increase in R&D tax credits, and expansion of government programmes, such as Innovate UK and Catapult.
- Provide government support to encourage a step-change in electrical and heat storage. For electricity, battery technology has the potential to revolutionise the UK’s energy model by allowing renewable energy to be stored and deployed at any time and the renewable heat initiative harnesses energy reduction and wasted heat costs.
- Introduce a centralised digital government procurement portal and payment platform, to enable public sector clients to manage the supply chain, with the aim of improving payment practices, market stability, collaboration and transparency.
- Exempt new investment by small and medium sized firms into their places of work and working methods (e.g. in BIM initiatives, broadband, or solar panels and energy storage) from consideration in business rates, to facilitating enhanced business infrastructure.
BESA Director of Commercial and Legal Rob Driscoll and ECA Director of Business Paul Reeve jointly commented:
“Numerous reports and studies show that the construction industry has the potential to significantly improve productivity, with the right support and investment.
“As a result, the ECA and BESA are calling on the government to put technology-driven innovation at the heart of economic development in the UK, while also supporting businesses that are looking to invest and grow.
“Doing so will help to position the UK as a world-leader in R&D, clean energy and in the digital commercial revolution.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP will deliver the Autumn Statement on Wednesday 23 November.