28698685_sUK: Two of the UK’s leading engineering associations have called for actions to help SME’s ahead of next week’s budget.

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) have issued a joint statement calling for action on red tape and business rates to reduce the burden on small and medium-sized businesses.

The ECA and the BESA have also called for the introduction of an online payment portal to help ensure those working on public sector contracts are paid on time.

The two trade bodies are jointly calling for measures that will allow small businesses to grow, such as reducing the impact of ever increasing business rates. This, they argue, would provide a boost to the UK economy, along with additional employment opportunities.

Concerned at the continuing instances of late payment, the ECA and the BESA are repeating calls for a centralised online procurement portal. Such a system, they say, would enable public sector clients to manage the supply chain through better presentation and analysis of “big data”, and allow payment requirements to be transparent and verifiable.

In terms of energy, the associations also point to the need to provide not just effective support, but long-term policy direction for energy efficiency and renewable technologies, in order to ensure a stable investment climate. In addition, the BESA and the ECA are seeking an improvement in the regulatory and legal environment around energy storage which, they say, would deliver much needed low-to-no carbon energy capacity, and contribute to UK energy resilience and security.