EEF blog

Insights into UK manufacturing

UK PMI at 17-month low, Eurozone PMI falls (again)

George Nikolaidis October 01, 2014 09:47


UK PMI hits 17-month low

PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) figures released today show a further slowdown in manufacturing activity for September. The PMI slipped to a 17-month low at 51.6, down from 52.2 in August and just 0.1 above its long-term average.

New order growth has slowed to near-stagnation, while price pressures remain subdued. Companies have reported weaker increases in production, new business and export orders. The average PMI reading for Q3 was also the weakest since Q2 last year and down sharply from figures seen earlier this year.

The weakness in the economic outlook of the Eurozone has weighed heftily on demand for UK manufactured goods, which saw the slowest growth of new export business in the current 18-month sequence of increase. In contrast to demand and output, job creation accelerated in September, regaining most of the momentum lost in August.

PMI figures suggest that Q3 figures will see a slowdown in UK manufacturing output compared to the earlier half of the year; ONS figures published yesterday showed that manufacturing output grew by a solid 0.5% from Q1 to Q2 2014 providing the largest upward contribution to production growth.


More grief for the Eurozone

The Eurozone PMI fell to a 14-month low in September reflecting protracted subdued economic activity in the Eurozone. The figure came at 50.3, down from 50.7 in August, as inflows of new orders contracted for the first time since June 2013. Input costs and selling prices were both lower than last month in the face of stubbornly low inflation throughout the Eurozone.

PMIs for Germany, Greece, France and Austria all came under 50.0 – indicating contraction in manufacturing activity. The German PMI fell below the 50.0 mark to 49.9 for the first time in 15 months as stagnant demand from the rest of the Eurozone and the Ukraine crisis were bound to take their toll.

Job creation came at a halt in September with higher headcounts in Italy, Spain and Ireland offset by lower employment in France, Austria and Greece. The lacklustre performance of the manufacturing sector suggests that output could start to fall in the last quarter of the year.

The Eurozone is set for some much-needed relief tomorrow as the ECB will announce the finer details of its ABS and Covered Bond purchase program.



Overall picture unchanged by GDP revisions

George Nikolaidis September 30, 2014 10:44

The ONS has published its much anticipated GDP revisions today for the period between 1997 to Q2 2014. The revisions bring ONS methodology of calculating GDP in line with European standards, which include spending in the black economy (drugs and prostitution) and treats expenditure on intangibles such as research & development as capital investment.

The revisions

Today’s revisions follow those published on 3 September which covered the period 1997 to 2012. Similar to the previous release, the methodological changes show that the recession was less severe and the recovery stronger than previously thought. In detail:

 GDP was above its pre-recession peak by Q3 2013 rather than mid-2014.
• The peak to trough fall during the recession is now estimated at -6.0% compared to -7.2%.
• Annual nominal GDP level revised up by a little over £53bn (4.1%) on average for 1997 to 2013.
• Between Q2 2013 and Q2 2014 real GDP increased by 3.2% - GDP now 2.7% higher than pre-economic downturn.
• Real GDP growth between Q1 2014 and Q2 2014 revised up by 0.1% to 0.9%.
• Real GDP per capita remains 1.8% below its Q1 2008 level in Q2 2014.

The Rest
• Total production output grew by 0.2% in Q2 2014 compared with Q1 2014
• Manufacturing output rose by 0.5% in Q2 2014 – the largest upwards contribution to production growth.
• Between Q2 2013 and Q2 2014 household final consumption expenditure rose by 2.1%.
• Between Q2 2013 and Q2 2014 gross fixed capital formation rose by 9.1%.
• The trade deficit increased by £0.2bn between Q1 and Q2 2014 – exports fell by 0.4% and imports by 0.3%.

 What do they mean?

We know that the UK economy has been performing better than previously thought; the drop in output was smaller during the downturn (still the worst since records began in 1948) and its rise steeper in the recovery (still relatively slow). But what are the implications of this?


The revisions are not trend-breaking and should not fundamentally alter the macroeconomic picture. For certain, UK citizens did not wake up this morning with more money in their pockets neither is the recovery sufficiently more balanced nor the deficit narrower.

By and large, what these revisions mean are that the supply capacity of the economy was less damaged by the recession than initially expected. This should imply a smaller output gap and could account for part of the labour ‘productivity puzzle’. With employment figures (and hours worked) unchanged, higher output should translate to better productivity figures. Still, output per hour in Q1 2014 remains 16% compared to the previous estimate of 19% below its projected path had the pre-recession growth rate been maintained. This shows that the revisions do little to explain the 'puzzle'.

The most direct implication of these revisions is for the BoE’s interest rate decision. A stronger recovery and less spare capacity could raise the momentum for a hike in November. However, key indicators of spare capacity – inflation and wages – remain subdued, meaning that the revisions do not substantially affect inputs to the interest rate decision.

 Is it all good news?  

There is a potential downside to the revisions too. In terms of fiscal policy, the fact that the deficit has remained so hefty despite stronger underlying growth is worrying. If robust GDP growth has failed to narrow the deficit this could suggest that the structural element of the deficit is deeper or that the composition of GDP growth is problematic.

The latter brings to mind the rebalancing argument – the composition of growth has until recently been heavily tilted on the consumption side. In this respect, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of this release is the positive figures on investment – up 9.1% in the last quarter.

Investment is crucial for rebalancing and so is manufacturing. Manufacturing output grew by 0.5% from Q1 to Q2 2014 providing the largest upward contribution to production growth – in line with EEF expectations. This failed to boost exports however, which fell by 0.5% widening the trade deficit by a further £2bn on quarter.

Rebalancing the economy is still some way off and the upward revisions on GDP should not cause complacency. Public finances remain precarious, wages are flat lining, exports are struggling and so is productivity. These economic facts should be enough to occupy the agendas of policy-makers in the run up to the General election.



Growth | Trade

#cpc14 Guest Blog: Priti Patel, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury

Guest Blog September 29, 2014 08:45

Priti Patel MP is Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury


The Conservatives came to power in 2010 with an economy on the rocks. The country had just been through the longest and deepest recession it has faced since the war, and years of inefficient and ineffective spending meant the deficit was at a record peacetime high. As the departing Chief Secretary to the Treasury put it: there was ‘no money left’.

That is why straight away we made a realistic assessment of the state the country was in, and set about our long-term economic plan to turn Britain around. By reducing the deficit, cutting income tax, creating more jobs, capping welfare, and delivering the best schools and skills for young people we had a clear path set out to build a stronger, healthier economy.

Since then, working to that plan, the Conservatives in Government have made tremendous progress in cleaning up the fiscal mess we inherited and getting the economy going. Growth is now expected by the OBR to reach 2.7% in 2014 – up from the Autumn Statement 2013 estimate of 2.4% – and the fastest rate of any major advanced economy.

By taking the difficult decisions and cutting away at inefficient and ineffective spending the deficit is down – now by over a third. That is real progress, and it makes a real difference to people's lives, keeping mortgage rates low and safeguarding the economy, so businesses have the confidence to invest and create jobs.

We are seeing this take effect, with business investment increasing by 5% in the first quarter of this year, meaning that investment has grown for five consecutive quarters for the first time since 1998. It is equally encouraging that the OBR forecasts business investment to continue growing strongly through this year to the next by 8% and 9.2% respectively.

To keep this momentum going, this Government has cut corporation tax to make it the lowest and most competitive rate in the entire G7. As part of our commitment to creating a more business-friendly environment, we will have streamlined the main rate and the small profits rate of corporation tax so there will be a single headline rate of 20% by next year. By comparison, Germany's 2014 corporation tax rate is 29.5%, while France's is 33.3%. This is just one example of many measures that the Conservatives have introduced to attract more investment and business to the UK and to provide the essential low-tax stability that helps businesses grow and succeed in this country.
This is feeding through into what matters most for making families more financially secure: jobs. There are now more than 1.8 million people in work since the last election – with employment at a near record high. Over the last year, employment growth in the UK has been the highest of all G7 countries, and with over 2.1 million private sector jobs created under this Government, national unemployment has fallen to 6.2% – the lowest since the great recession.

The recovery is also balanced across all main sectors, with manufacturing, services and construction all growing by over 3% in the second quarter on a year earlier. The Labour Party and our political opponents said this would not be possible, but unlike Labour, the Conservatives trust the entrepreneurial strength of Britain's businesses, which is why we have backed them every step of the way. A more balanced economy is a stronger one, which is more secure for the future.

It is clear that our plan is working, and that is why for the remainder of this parliament we will keep working through it, so that the deficit will fall further, employment will keep rising as we work towards full employment, and firms can keep growing and prospering. By building a stronger, healthier economy, we are ensuring that hardworking taxpayers can look forward to the future with greater peace of mind and security, and delivering a better and brighter future for Britain. 



Boost pay to Apprentices by scrapping Apprentice Rate and align to age-specific wages

Verity O'Keefe September 26, 2014 08:30

EEF has today submitted its response to the Low Pay Commission (LPC) on national minimum wage rates for 2015-16. We will be blogging about our submission over the next couple of days. Today we focus on Apprentice pay.

Our key recommendation to the LPC on apprentice pay is simple:

Scrap the Apprentice Rate and align apprentice pay to the age-specific national minimum wage.

Why are we calling for this? Well, here’s what we think....

The Apprentice Rate

The Apprentice Rate was introduced in 2010 and aimed to strike a balance between a minimum wage level that prevents the exploitation of Apprentices and wage costs being so high that they reduce the opportunity for employers to offer young people’s training and employment.

The Apprentice Rate is applicable for under-19s as well as those 19 and above and in the first year of their Apprenticeship. Beyond this the learner is entitled to the NMW in accordance to their age. Therefore, the NMW rate entitlement changes depending on the age of the apprentice and the duration of the Apprenticeships

The Apprentice Rate has had a very mild increase since its introduction, with increases often lower than the adult national minimum wage rates. For example in 2014, the Apprentice Rate will increase by just 2%, compared to the adult rate which will increase by 3%.

Table 1: Change to Apprentice pay since its introduction

The Apprentice Pay structure is complex and confusing for employers

In other sectors, Apprenticeships may last just the 12 month minimum and therefore those employers will only have to pay the Apprentice Rate. However, in manufacturing and engineering, high-quality apprenticeships are associated with longer duration periods. Indeed, the majority of EEF members say their apprenticeships last an average of four years. Therefore the pay for apprentices, depending on their starting age, would be as follows:

Table 2: Apprentice Rate for a four year Apprenticeship by age

Such a structure is confusing and complex and as such, EEF members do not use the Apprentice Rate as a basis to set their Apprentice pay but instead use alternative ways to determine wages which we discuss later in this section.

Apprentice Rate has limited or no impact on apprentice pay

Qualitative research conducted on behalf of the LPC in 2012 found that no national programme officer or training provider recalls any employer reporting that there were going to offer fewer Apprenticeships following the introduction of the Apprentice Rate.

The Apprentice Rate has increased since its introduction, yet does not remain a barrier for manufacturers in offering apprenticeships. Indeed less than 1% of manufacturers say they would offer more apprenticeships if the Apprentice NMW was reduced.

Moreover, since asking this question to EEF members we have tracked trends of apprenticeship opportunities and have found plans to recruit manufacturing and engineering apprenticeships have continued with some 66% of employers planning to recruit a manufacturing and engineering apprentice and some 38% of EEF members plan to recruit a non-manufacturing and engineering apprentice in the next 12 months.

The Apprentice Rate has no impact on the wages paid to apprentices by EEF members. EEF’s own Pay Benchmark shows a steady increase in Apprentice Pay over recent years, far above the Apprentice Rate and indeed over many of the NMW rate brackets. Anecdotal evidence from our membership suggests that EEF members set Apprentice pay based on the market rate – often referring to EEF’s Pay Benchmark. Many members ensure they are, at the very least, paying the Apprentice the age-specific minimum wage rate.

Apprenticeship numbers, and indeed pay, continue to increase

Apprenticeship numbers have increased significantly in recent years. This is true when looking at manufacturing and engineering apprenticeships also – although the increases have not been so significant. (See Chart 1)

Chart 1: Apprenticeship starts have increased in recent years- number of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship starts, and total number of apprenticeship starts


Source: The Data Service - 2013

We have also seen a shift towards higher-level apprenticeships. Whilst a couple of years ago intermediate level apprenticeships dominated the figures, in manufacturing and engineering we are seeing a move towards advanced and higher apprenticeships. Manufacturers are increasingly demanding higher-level skills and advanced and higher apprenticeships give employers access to these higher-level skill-sets.

Therefore, they are willing to pay more for such skills. We have seen this in our own Workforce Pay Benchmark (See Chart 2). This is particularly the case for first year and final year apprentices, as manufacturing and engineering employers continue to offer competitive pay to attract apprentices into their companies, and retain them upon completion of their training.

Chart 2: Average salary for Craft Apprentice 

Source: Various EEF Workforce Pay Benchmarks 2010 -2014

BIS’ Apprentice Pay Survey 2012 found that the average pay for an Apprentice is now £6.21, this increases to £7.03 for engineering apprenticeships – a figure above the adult national minimum wage rate. This again reaffirms the extremely limited impact that the Apprentice Rate has on actual wages for Apprentices.

The Apprentice Rate pay structure should be scrapped

Given this, and the complicated pay structure currently for apprentices, we are recommending that the Apprentice Rate is abolished and instead learners are paid their age-specific national minimum wage rate. This would simplify what is a complicated structure currently, and is likely to result in better compliance from employers across all sectors. A generally higher wage rate would also raise the status of vocational learning, drive up the quality of apprenticeships as employers would be required to make a larger investment, and may increase learner demand for Apprentices overall.

Apprentices would see a significant boost to pay

Under our recommendation to scrap the Apprentice Rate and instead aligned apprentice pay with age-specific national minimum wage rates, apprentices would see their pay increase significantly – in particular first year Apprentices and under 19s. For example a 19 year old Apprentice in their first year would see pay jump from £2.68 per hour to £5.03

Table 3: Apprentice way if Apprentice Rate was abolished and learners paid age-specific rate

These rates would be those used by employer if recruiting a young person under 21 for a role outside of an Apprenticeship and so employers would be familiar with this structure.

In summary

There is an opportunity to create some clear winners such as young apprentices by abolishing the apprentice pay structure and replacing the Apprentice Rate with a learner’s age specific rate. Apprentices would see a significant boost to pay and employers will no longer be faced with a complex and confusing pay structure.


How did Labour do at our #MakeitBritain bingo? #lab14

Chris Richards September 25, 2014 10:26

We tracked the speeches of Ed Miliband, Chuka Umunna and Ed Balls against our #MakeitBritain Party Conference Bingo card.

The card is based on our Top 5 policy priorities for manufacturing.

The result from the Labour Conference is encouraging, with all three speakers mentioning the importance of staying in the EU and leading reform from within. There was also a strong focus on apprenticeships and exports.

Not a full house

However, there were still some gaps. There was no mention of rebalancing. Creating a better balanced economy is crucial. While growth has recently returned, progress on rebalancing toward exports and business investment is still patchy.

There was also no mention of resource security. Materials are the lifeblood of the manufacturing sector, accounting for approximately 40% of the sector's costs. Other countries have developed sophisticated strategies to shield their economies from current and future material supply risks that put ours in the shade.

No mention of productivity either. Without sustainable productivity growth, we can't have sustainable wage growth. Productivity is also important for the UK's export performance, especially as other countries become more competitive. In 2013 UK productivity decreased.

Finally, there was no mention of energy costs for business. Ed Miliband has pledged to take carbon out of electricity by 2030 but there was no mention of the energy price increases this will entail. We would like to see a commitment to the implementation of the energy intensive industry (EII) compensation package, as announced in the 2014 Budget, a long term vision for EIIs within a low carbon economy.

Next week, we'll be blogging about how the Conservatives do at their conference, by tracking the speeches of David Cameron and George Osborne.

Lessons from BBB's "Funding the Future"

George Nikolaidis September 24, 2014 17:14

Today’s Funding the Future event organised by the British Business Bank (BBB) focused on one of the most prominent issues facing the UK economy – access to finance for SMEs.

The BBB was founded under the recommendation of Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable in order to address the core problems of the UK’s credit market that preceded the financial crisis but only surfaced thereafter. Over the past few years there is widespread recognition that government action is required to mend an ailing financial system. One of the ways of undertaking this massive task was going forward with Dr Cable’s proposal of establishing an institution that will occupy the alternative finance space.

It was only fitting that Dr Cable would initiate the proceedings in front of a crowd that ranged from government officials and alternative finance providers to SME owners and business group representatives. Dr Cable explained the dual rationale behind the establishment of the BBB.

The first was addressing the cyclical effects of the financial crisis that placed mass restrictions on lending severing the flow of credit to businesses – and disproportionately more so to SMEs. The second was addressing the structural problems of the UK credit market that exhibits the characteristics of high-premium, high-risk finance combined with low diversity in supply.

The most prominent grievance expressed by SMEs was that the UK credit market is dominated by big banks whose very business model - driven by the quest of high premiums and with approvals contingent almost entirely on credit ratings – acts as a fundamental disincentive for SME lending. With the lack of alternative finance options (such as e.g. leasing companies, venture capital funds and web-based platforms) high growth potential SMEs fail to obtain the funds they need to expand. The result is an economy-wide misallocation of resources from productive to unproductive firms.

The mission of the BBB is to address this market failure by bridging the financing gap for SMEs and thereby alter the structure of the credit market through diversifying the supply of finance. The Bank is only at its infancy having started operations for no more than a year but has already had considerable impact. According to the BBB it has helped 35,000 businesses to access £829 million of direly needed finance.

The importance of improving access to finance for SMEs was the main message conveyed through the various panel discussions between owners of SMEs and alternative finance providers. Several executives of start-up businesses testified at how their loan applications were rejected by big banks only to access alternative finance and see their business grow exponentially. This predicament is not new to manufacturers either; manufacturing SMEs are facing similar problems in accessing credit, especially with regards to export finance.

The BBB has played an important role in facilitating this process – linking SMEs to alternative finance providers. It is now looking to expand by partnering more finance providers as well as innovating by bringing new financial products to the market. Awareness is as key as the presence of the institution; low awareness among SME’s over the finance options available to them is a primary obstacle to accessing credit. The BBB has gone some way towards changing that.

But changing the structure of the credit market for the better takes more than just boosting alternative finance. The main source of credit will continue to filter through the big banks and more competition in traditional finance is vital for a well-functioning credit market. The financial system needs to start working for businesses and not the other way round.


Chancellor set to miss deficit reduction targets

George Nikolaidis September 23, 2014 09:41

With the Scottish Referendum over and the Party Conferences underway the Government will soon shift its focus to the next big thing on its agenda; the Autumn Statement – the Chancellor’s warm up speech to the Budget – is pencilled in for the 3rd of December.  Once again, much of the attention will be on assessing the performance of the Government vis-a-vis its deficit reduction targets.

What do the figures say?

Today’s ONS figures show a worsening of public sector finances:

Public sector net borrowing excl public sector banks from April to August 2014 was £45.4bn, up £2.6bn compared with the same period in 2013/14.

Public sector net debt excl public sector banks was £1,432.3bn in August 2014, up £96.7bn compared with August 2013.

Central government expenditure in August 2014 was £54.0bn, up £1.7bn, or 3.3%, compared with August 2013.

Central government receipts for the financial year-to-date 2014/15 were £240.6bn, down £2.9bn, or 1.2% than in the same period in 2013/14.

So are we on target?

The short answer is no; as things stand the Chancellor is on course to missing his £95.5bn deficit target for the year. At the current rate, net government borrowing will come in at around £108bn and needs to drop faster if the Government is to hit its target before the end of the fiscal year and in time for the 2015 General Election.

Slow progress in cutting the deficit is mostly down to muted wage growth constraining income tax revenues. Higher VAT receipts from a consumer-led recovery and stamp duty income from a booming housing market have failed to offset this drag.

Is it all bad?

Increases in public borrowing this year largely reflect one-off factors such as changes in the additional rate of income tax and last year’s Swiss capital tax proceeds inflating receipts. The impact of these outliers is set to unwind as the tax year progresses.

Most analysts seem to agree that forthcoming wage growth should greatly improve the Treasury’s balance sheet by reeling in more income tax. The Chancellor is set to argue that one-off increases in income tax from the self-employed in January will also brighten the picture considerably.

Given that the deficit is highly sensitive to small changes in the growth rate of taxes and spending topped with the expectation that wages will soon pick up there is still scope for meeting this year’s targets.


All in all, the data tells us that the Chancellor is slightly off-track in achieving his budget deficit targets for this year but broadly on-track for his long-term 2019 targets. Of course, a lot will depend on what happens in the interval. Interestingly enough, wage growth is now central to the deficit debate via income tax similar to the way it drives other key economic debates in the UK – namely, the cost-of-living and interest rate debates.


#Lab14 Guest blog: Iain Wright, Shadow Minister for Industry

Guest Blog September 22, 2014 13:00

Iain Wright MP is the Shadow Minister for Industry

In every corner of this country we have dynamic, enterprising businesses, keen to expand, break into new markets, invent and improve products and processes and employ more people. This is particularly true in manufacturing; the sneering, dismissive retort of "we don't make anything in this country anymore" is simply untrue. A strong manufacturing sector is the driver of improving productivity, accelerated innovation and higher skills and wages throughout all parts of the economy. Labour recognises the importance of manufacturing.
Labour is committed to working actively and strategically with business to tap into this huge potential. We have therefore made a long-term approach to growth a key pillar of its Agenda 2030, launched by Chuka Umunna earlier this year.
Government can support firms in taking a long term perspective by reforming corporate governance to encourage responsibility at the top, consistently favouring long-term investment through the encouragement of patient capital to SMEs, utilising capital allowance systems that favour long-term investment and putting in place effective intellectual property policies that incentivise innovation.
But if we are asking firms to take a long-term perspective, policy makers need to set an example with a clear long-term vision for the future of British industry, something that has proved sorely lacking under the Tory-led Government. We need an ambitious industrial strategy to support the development of UK industry in targeted sectors. Many industrial sectors that our competitors are investing in – new energy, energy conservation, biotechnology, clean energy vehicles – are sectors in which Britain has a competitive edge, but ones which we risk losing because of a lack of clear direction from the Government. One way Labour would support target sectors by shaping government procurement rules to reward productive British businesses who invest for the long-term, embrace innovation and training and nurture their staff.
Perhaps most important of all to a long term approach, and where this country has failed badly in the past, is in delivering the long-term infrastructure business needs to succeed. That is why Ed Miliband has committed Labour to act on Sir John Armitt’s recommendations to establish an independent National Infrastructure Commission, ending the short-termism which has left the UK lagging behind in key areas like communications and transport infrastructure.
The rewards of a successful long-term approach are huge – more prosperity, more jobs, improved and well-financed public services and a better standard of living for all.  The costs of failure and missed opportunities are equally high. We need to have active government working with business to realise our huge potential.


Manufacturing? A balanced economy? Here's our top 5 policy priorities

Lee Hopley September 19, 2014 13:34

Better balanced economic growth has been something of a mantra for policy makers, economists and anyone else concerned with the UK's long-term economic performance over the course of this parliament. While growth is definitely back on, progress on rebalancing has been patchy. For the next government the focus on growth of the better balanced kind will be just as important over the next five years and this overarching objective provides the framework for EEF's 'Top 5 priorities for the next government' - published today.

Regular readers won't need reminding that we see manufacturing as a critical contributor to growth and rebalancing - the sector invests, innovates and exports more than other parts of the economy.

Setting a course for better balanced growth

Manufacturers longer term ambitions of entering new export markets, exploiting new technologies, being at the forefront of bringing new innovations to market, driving up productivity and providing skilled well paid jobs in their communities speak to the kind of growth government action should be focused on now and over the next parliament.

Achieving these ambitions will require hard work on the part of businesses and certainty that the UK will be a good place for investment now and in the future. So as we approach party conference season there are some commitments that all parties can make that would give business confidence that a future government is 100% focused on better balanced growth:

  • A clear vision of economic priorities to 2020 which drives tough decisions on fiscal priorities
  • A laser focus on international competitiveness to ensure business costs and regulation support UK investors and exporters
  • Collaboration with international partners - especially those in the EU - to achieve economic goals 

In addition there are a range of policy areas that need new or renewed focus in order to build the right business environment in which manufacturers can invest, innovate and generate growth. EEF's priorities are not a menu of options for the next government - these are the reforms that will make the biggest difference to manufacturers' ability to succeed in an increasingly competitive global market.

Top 5

The UK business environment has some strong selling points - competitive corporate tax rates; a good innovation ecosystem and a strong science base all serve to anchor investments in manufacturing capacity in the UK. But there is still work to do...... 

50% of manufacturers say an improved supply of skills would positively support their investment plans in the UK

The next government must:

50% of manufacturers say that a government commitment to keep energy prices at or below the EU average would encourage them to expand in the UK

The next government must:

  • Review the Carbon Price Floor and scrap it as soon as fiscally possible
  • Produce an energy intensive industry decarbonisation strategy

40% of manufacturers would prioritise additional resources for Innovate UK to boost the UK's innovation performance

The next government must:

  • Increase the science and innovation budgets in real terms over the next parliament
  • Increase funding for Catapult centres

One fifth of export-intensive manufacturers regard the state of transport infrastructure  as a drawback to operating in the UK

The next government must:

85% of manufacturers want the UK to remain part of the European Union

The next government must:


The #MakeItBritain Party Conference bingo - the Top 5 to help manufacturing thrive

Chris Richards September 19, 2014 09:20

On Monday we'll be publishing our Top 5 priorities of what manufacturers want political parties to focus on as part of their manifesto and policy development between now, the start of the party conference season, and the general election next year.

As we outlined earlier this week, our recent YouGov research shows that an overwhelming 85% of voters want the next Government to promote a stronger UK manufacturing base

Today, in time for party conferences, we are launching our 2014 #MakeItBritain Party Conference Bingo card, our snapshot of the themes political parties need to be focussed on if they are serious about creating a stronger manufacturing base in the UK.

We'll be following all the main speeches at the upcoming Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem party conferences to highlight any positive support received for our themes.

Help us champion #MakeItBritain by retweeting our link to the bingo card and if you are at party conferences attending any fringe events, do join in and shout #MakeItBritain! (perhaps, not literally - best to tweet) if any of the speakers champion our themes. We'll retweet the best ones.

If you'd like to become a #MakeItBritain champion you can pledge your support over at

This is an informal blog about manufacturing and the economy written by EEF's policy and representation staff. While it is written from an EEF perspective, contributions should not be taken as formal statements of EEF policy, unless stated otherwise. Nor does it cover all the issues on which we campaign - you can check these out in more detail at our main site.

We welcome and encourage comments, but we reserve the right to remove any that are offensive or irrelevant. We are not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

About EEF

EEF helps manufacturing businesses evolve and compete.  We provide business services that make them more efficient and management intelligence that helps them plan.  Our work with government encourages policies that make it easy for them to operate, innovate and grow.

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