Trade reaction to Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

Trade reaction to Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

“For meat and poultry businesses to thrive they need certainty and we would have liked to have heard about a needs based approach to migrant labour, at least in the short term,” was one of the responses of trade body AIMS to the Autumn Statement delivered by the Chancellor.

Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt. Image courtesy of Creative Commons.

In a statement AIMS continued: “The Chancellor’s acknowledgement that the UK is in recession is not a surprise and coupled with the cost of living crisis he says that ‘his plan will help rebuild the economy and reduce debt.’

“Economic stability and growth were central to the statement it was of note that he also recognised the country’s ‘incredible strengths’ in areas such as manufacturing.

“However we do welcome the announcement that over 600,000 more people on universal credit people to meet with work coach “so they can get the support they need to increase their work hours or earnings” and trust that this will also include training needs such as expanding the lifetime skills guarantee to include courses such as level 3 butchery and the promotion of the Food & Drink Careers Passport.”

AIMS also said it believed the Chancellor correctly identified UK energy efficiency and the need to remove the country from the vagaries of global markets and shocks. “If this can be achieved it will help our member’s businesses to plan for better for energy input costs.

“However,” warned AIMS’s Tony Goodger, “unless consumer confidence is strengthened and domestic cost pressures are eased we are likely to see areas of the economy such as out of home dining continue to struggle. Whilst the Chancellor’s review of how to support households and businesses with energy bills post April 2023 and a package of business rates support is welcome unless demand is stimulated then it is the challenge of survival and not growth that many will face in the immediate few months.”

Despite the positive impact of rises in benefits and pensions the elephant in the room remains, according to Rod Addy, director general of the Provision Trade Federation (PTF): “Many of the beneficial measures announced will be undercut by an average rise of 20% in domestic energy bills next year due to a scaling back of the Energy Price Guarantee. Knowing this, consumers will continue to rein in spending at a time of record grocery inflation, which will hit the whole food chain.”

He added that significant rises in bills could be “the last straw” for food businesses with commodity costs across the board still climbing.


NFU president Minette Batters said: “There is much to be welcomed, particularly on investment in research and development and the roll out of gigabit broadband technology to those hardest to reach rural communities. While we await further clarity, these commitments would enable Britain’s farmers to be more productive and efficient, while continuing to produce sustainable food and achieve ambitious net zero goals.

“Like other businesses, it’s rocketing costs for energy – central to producing our food – as well as huge hikes in feed, and fertiliser, which is putting Britain’s farmers and growers under the most intense pressure. We expect an announcement on future support for businesses before Christmas and it is vital this new targeted approach for business beyond next April includes UK food production and the food supply chain. 

“With a safe, affordable domestic food supply being central to our nation’s success, we believe there are robust grounds for the government to classify our industry as a vulnerable sector when it comes to energy provision.

“We also heard from the Chancellor [today] committing that government departments will have their overall budgets increased in real terms. We trust this will allow Defra to deliver a properly-funded Agricultural Transition Plan to ensure Britain’s farmers have the confidence to invest and grow their businesses, in turn, enabling British food, farming and the country to thrive.”

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