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Trade bodies seek action on red tape, energy storage and digital payment In advance of next week’s Budget, the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and the Building Engineering Services Association (the BESA) have issued a joint statement on a number of the key issues affecting members of both organisations. The main areas the BESA and the ECA raise are as follows: · Action needed on red tape and business rates to reduce the burden on small and medium sized businesses · Support and direction for energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage · Introduction of an online payment portal will help ensure those working on public sector contracts are paid on time The ECA and BESA highlight the unique challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially in relation to unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape, and the burden placed on them by the taxation regime. The two trade bodies are jointly calling for measures that will allow small businesses to grow, such as reducing the impact of business rates, thus providing a boost to the overall UK economy, along with additional employment opportunities. In terms of energy, the associations 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 and sustainable investment climate. In addition, the BESA and ECA are seeking an improvement in the regulatory environment around energy storage which would help to deliver much needed low-to-no carbon energy capacity, and contribute to UK energy resilience and security. Finally, recognising the need to ensure fair and prompt payment along contractor supply chains, the ECA and the BESA are also pressing for a centralised online procurement portal, to 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.