The 2021 budget included an extension to the furlough scheme and support for apprenticeships – but no mention of sector specific support for the aviation industry.

Commenting on presentation of the Budget by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “Our industries welcome the extension to furlough and support for apprenticeships, which offer a route for thousands to access high value careers in aerospace, defence, security and space. Measures to encourage investment like the new tax super-deduction will make a difference and the consultation on R&D tax relief is a welcome development.”

Longer term and “patient” finance needed for UK SMEs

“The lack of specific measures for aerospace and aviation though till the lifting of international travel restrictions is disappointing. Many SMEs in the aerospace supply chain need longer term and more patient finance, it is unclear how this demand will be met.”

“UK aerospace can become a global leader in delivering future net zero flight, but must be supported to weather this crisis, sustain our capabilities and skills, and deliver future investment.”

While ADS welcomed the contents of the budget, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) said it is ‘absolutely dismayed’ that aviation was ignored in the Budget announcement today. BALPA says the Government has failed to recognise the dire situation the travel industry is facing and invest in the industry that will be vital to the economic recovery post COVID.

“Not one single word about aviation in budget”

BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said: “The Chancellor said not one single word about aviation in his budget. I am utterly dismayed that he can ignore this industry which is clearly going to be the last to recover from COVID.”

“While there was sector-specific money for non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, gyms, personal care, arts, culture and the housing sector, there was not one word of backing for our vital sector.”

“This is a massive slap in the face for the industry that has supported repatriations, brought in vital supplies and faced never ending changes to restrictions and rules and a total shutdown as a result of Government policy.”

No acknowledgement of “difficult times” for sector

“Mr Sunak has totally abandoned aviation and failed to acknowledge just how difficult times are for the sector right now. This budget could push many airlines further in to a death spiral and cost even more jobs. We must now look to the vital Global Taskforce report on April 12 to give our aviation industry certainty and security and help us to plan a way though this crisis.”

But David Barnes, chief executive of Farnborough Aerospace Consortium (FAC), which represents hundreds of businesses mainly across the south and south east, said: “There was much about the Budget which we welcome.”

He added: “The extension of the furlough scheme, the unlocking of investment and focus on research and development will benefit the sector.

“We are also pleased with the incentives to hire apprentices because we need a skilled workforce to help the recovery. Aerospace has been one of the hardest hit sectors and its recovery will take longer. The rates relief ending will have a big, negative impact because many of the companies in our industry will simply not have recovered by then. It will be a long road for them.”

“Difficult job in exceptional times”

“However, the business rates being held for companies with small profits – mainly SMEs – is welcome. The Chancellor had a difficult job and we are in exceptional times, but there was nothing specific to assist the aerospace sector.

“There was a focus on green infrastructure and aerospace has worked hard in this area and reduced its emissions by large amounts so I’m hoping some of these funds will be available.Furthermore, we hope the existing funding mechanisms for aerospace through the Aerospace Growth Partnership won’t be affected, and will continue. In the coming days we will examine the details of the Budget and assess how it will affect our members.”

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