Institution of Mechanical Engineers responds to Chancellor’s Spring Statement

Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said in response to the Spring Statement 2018:

“It is good to hear that the Government is continuing to emphasise the close connection between the practices of industries and our natural environment. Using the tax systems to incentivise ‘greener’ behaviours in industry is a good start and we welcome the upcoming consultations on red diesel, vehicle excise duty, and plastics.

“Connecting the whole supply chain of the plastics industry is a diverse and complex issue. The management of plastics used in consumer packaging and local authority recycling collections is currently disjointed. It is important to ensure that when materials are produced they can be recycled effectively; this means creating consistent material supply chains from our wastes. The fragmented non-standardised approach to recycling in the UK is holding us back from developing these material supply chains. The Government must work closely with both industry and our local authorities to reduce the number of plastics used in household products and ensure that consistent collections across the UK build new markets for the reprocessing of waste materials and their use in new products.

“Further to this, it is important to ensure that some plastics, used in industries like healthcare, automotive, and pharmaceutical are recognised as vital materials and these plastics must not be confused with those that we find in single use items, our household wastes and littering our environment.”

“We also welcome the announcement that new homes will be built across the UK. These new homes must be resilient, as our future climate is changing and our energy and transport systems are evolving. New homes must enable residents to take the opportunities that these new systems could offer, from smart distributed energy, prosuming (householders that produce and consume energy), electric vehicle charging, natural/hydrogen gas appliances and in-house systems that support the elderly are all possibilities. If homes are not built with our future in mind, then new householders will have to pay to retrofit their own houses.”

Peter Finegold, Head of Education Policy at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said in response to the Spring Statement 2018:

“We welcome the Chancellor’s proposed release of £80m for small businesses so that they can fully participate in the Government’s target of 3 million apprenticeships. Positive perception of the apprenticeships ‘brand’ amongst young people, their parents and teachers is heavily reliant on ensuring all apprenticeships are of high quality, are for an extended duration and develop transferable skills alongside specialist competences. Engineering apprenticeships are a perfect exemplar of this approach.

“We support the Chancellor’s £500m commitment to the introduction of T-levels, with a specific commitment of £50m to prepare work placements – since this is a major hurdle to be overcome if the proposed scheme is to succeed. But there is still a good deal of work to be done in changing perceptions in our schools that would allow technical training to be viewed as equivalent to academic study – especially among teachers. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ STEM Insight teachers in industry programme, led by STEM Learning, provides teachers with professionally life-changing exposure to how employers value their skilled expert technicians.”


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