The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has called on this week's Budget to reduce the burden on small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by cutting red tape and reducing business rates.

The BESA, in conjunction with the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA), have issued a joint statement on a number of the key topics affecting members of both organisations.

The organisations have also called on the government to provide support and direction for the energy efficiency and renewables sectors, as well as highlighting the need for an online payment portal that will help ensure those working on public sector contracts are paid on time.

The ECA and the BESA believe that reducing the impact of ever increasing business rates will provide 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 investment climate. In addition, the BESA and the ECA are seeking an improvement in the regulatory and legal environment around energy storage, which would 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 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.