Manufacturers in Sheffield gave a lukewarm response to plans to bring forward a compensation package for high energy users - such as steelworks - announced in the Budget today.
Master Cutler, David Grey MBE, who is also group managing director of OSL Group Holdings, said: “I understand that the Chancellor proposes to bring forward relief on the feed in tariff by six months. This is welcome but frankly small beer. UK electricity costs industry about 77 euros per megawatt/hour. In Germany it is 33 euros.
“There is a contradiction between high energy costs relative to our European competitors and the Government’s express desire to see growth of manufacturing capacity.
“The Cutlers’ Company believes that rather than the tweaks proposed, we need a substantial review of energy policy.“
Meanwhile Martin McKervey, partner at Nabarro and Sheffield City Region LEP board member said it was great to hear George Osborne’s vision of a ‘northern powerhouse’ in his final budget before the general election in May.
The Chancellor said jobs had grown faster in the North than the South during the last year. And he claimed Yorkshire alone had created more jobs than France.
Mr McKervey said: “We need this commitment to build the northern powerhouse to help us combine forces with our northern neighbours to attract more investment and help our businesses to grow nationally and internationally. Investment in technology and a 21st century rail network is also essential for businesses to access a much larger skilled workforce and remain productive.
“We look forward to seeing Mr Osborne’s transport strategy for the North which is due to be published this week and to see how this will affect our city region.”
A pledge to conduct a ‘major review of business rates’ was also welcomed.
Rates expert Paul Mitchell said: “The penny has finally dropped that business rates have shafted the high street and radical reform is needed.”