Twas (almost) the night before Christmas 2018 | EEF

Twas (almost) the night before Christmas 2018

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Regular readers will know this has become a bit of an annual tradition - we hope you enjoy!


Twas (almost) the night before Christmas and all through the House (s of Parliament)

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

MP’s stockings were hung up by the chimney with care

In hope that St Nicholas would soon to be there

Ministers were nestled all snug in their beds

While visions of policies danced round in their heads

So looking back now at the year 2018

What naughty and nice skills and employment policy have there been?


Let’s start with the Levy, because it hasn’t gone away

We published a report – A Levy Price to Pay

We found there were challenges, pit falls and less starts

So we called on the Government to begin thinking smart

We made our Santa list on how to get the Levy back on track

And we were pleased when the Chancellor pulled out of his Budget sack

More flexibility on transferring funds from their Levy pot

And some cash for new standards, as we found there wasn’t a lot.

Reductions in the amount non-Levy payers pay

And then there was the big one, us policy peeps would say

An entire Review of the Levy – hip hip hooray!


Let’s move on now to technical education

To boost vocational pathways there’s to be a new qualification.

They are called T Levels their remit to be

Provide a solid route to employment, apprenticeships or H.E.

But not everyone’s jumped at this new policy

With many sceptical about how easy delivering placements might be

But with some greater flexibilities around how these are run

Our fight to promote vocational education might just be won.

We’ve already secured UCAS points for T level learners

And with experience and knowledge these students could become the biggest earners.


We took our annual trip to the Low Pay Commission

Having been invited to give evidence following our extensive submission.

We made our usual call for a bigger boost to apprentice pay

And suggested the target for the NLW did not stray.

But we did say the Government must act with care

As we still don’t know how this thing called “Brexit” is going to fare.

The Government announced the increases for next year

Which were as expected, but we’re not quite in the clear

As next April will see rates for pensions auto-enrolment rise

And who knows what other employment costs might come as a surprise!


We had the first year of gender pay reporting

Which we had been concerned about if figures looked distorting.

But happy to say manufacturers stepped up to the plate

With narratives and action plans that they did create.

We published our own benchmark so employers can see

How they compared to their counterparts in the industry.

And ethnicity reporting is now on the brink

So we’ve just put in our submission on what manufacturers’ think.

So keep an eye out for that in the New Year

As what is required from employers will soon be made clear.


Now I try and stay away from the dreaded “B” word

As any talk about Brexit tends to get a bit absurd

We’ve been very clear that in the case of no-deal

Is the worst possible scenario that manufacturers could feel.

But if we focus quickly on post-Brexit migration

In the last week of Parliament there was quite the revelation

Yes the publication of the White Paper – it’s finally here

Don’t worry Government we’ve only been waiting a year!

We got some wins, including an expanded definition of skill

But there was something that gave manufacturers a bit of a chill

The prospect of a minimum salary of £30,000

But don’t worry yet it’s not as bad as it sounds

As reading the detail you will actually see

It’s not a figure set in stone, a consultation there will be.


I better stop now else I’ll go on forever

And I’m out of rhymes as I’m really not that clever.

So there is only one more thing that’s really left to say

Before we break up for Christmas and let our readers on their way

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

See you all in 2019, from the Policy team here!



Head of Education & Skills Policy

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