Minister urged to adopt fresh approach to Climate Change Policy | EEF quizzed by MPs on Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) | EEF: Government should scrap the right to request training | Weekly focus: Regulation - time for change | EEF in the news | Week in review | The week ahead | Join us for EEF's political party conference programme
Minister urged to adopt fresh approach to Climate Change Policy
We had a meeting this week with Gregory Barker MP, the Minister of State for Climate Change within DECC. In a wide ranging discussion, we were pleased to hear that simplification of the climate change policy landscape is high on his agenda and in line with the recommendations set out in our recent report on climate change policy. The Minister was also receptive to the concerns of manufacturers on competitiveness and carbon leakage. Finally, he stated his desire to work more closely with industry through regular meetings on the detail of specific policy proposals, rather than just at arms-length through formal consultations
For further information contact Gareth Stace, Head of Climate & Environment Policy
EEF quizzed by MPs on Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs)
Our Director of Policy, Stephen Radley, was on a business panel which gave evidence to the House of Commons Business Select Committee this week on changes to regional and local support for business. During his evidence, which can be viewed here, Steve reiterated EEF’s view that Local Enterprise Partnerships (the bodies that the government want to replace the replace the Regional Development Agencies), must have sufficient critical size and scale, focused on economic development and be a genuine partnership between business and local government. The government is expected to announce in the next few weeks the next steps on LEPs. A full list of areas which have submitted proposals to create LEPs is available on the BIS website.
For further information contact Stephen Radley, Director of External Affairs and Policy
EEF: Government should scrap the right to request training
The legal right to allow workers in businesses with more than 250 employees to request time off to take relevant training came into effect from 6 April this year. The new Government has announced a review of the need for this regulation and invited views from industry and others. EEF argued against the introduction of this right and unsurprisingly a short submission made this week argues that this should now be repealed. However, while we welcome the government’s decision to review this proposal it is clear from discussions that we have had with members that the costs and administrative burdens imposed on them by this are relatively modest. Therefore we would be disappointed if, in adopting it’s new “one-in, one-out” approach to regulation, the government used its decision to ditch this legislation as justification to introduce something far more costly elsewhere.
For further information contact David Yeandle, Head of Employment Policy
Weekly focus: Regulation – time for change
Over the past two decades businesses have been promised reductions in costs imposed by regulation, only to see them rise year on year. A recent telephone survey of 300 EEF members found that regulation was rated as the second worst aspect of the UK business environment behind taxation. More than half of those surveyed identified regulation as an obstacle to growing their business. A bold new approach to regulation is now needed to meet the Chancellor’s aim of making the UK economy ‘Open For Business’. The new government is ambitiously promising to ‘reduce regulation’ but is already finding this challenging. There is the potential for real change – or for more of the same.
To address these questions, an EEF Regulation Task Group reviewed the evidence, met key officials and identified ten key recommendations for improving the competitive environment by controlling costs and changing the culture amongst policy makers. As well as meeting ministers and key officials to press the case for a changed approach, we will be using the recommendations to support vigorous lobbying on specific issues, including: abolition of the default retirement age, review of UK waste legislation and two proposed health and safety directives.
Read the report or a shorter summary paper.
EEF in the news
Our report on Regulation was the lead story on the Daily Telegraph's Enterprise page this week and was reported elsewhere including Personnel Today and the Birmingham Post. Meanwhile we had an opinion piece on the state of trade in the Newcastle Journal and the Manufacturer featured an interview with our Chief Executive Terry Scuoler, as well as our comments on the latest Labour Market statistics.
Week in Review
CPI annual inflation was 3.1% in August. Although unchanged from the month before, there were significant upward and downward pressures on inflation between July and August. The most significant differences between July and August were accounted for by increases in the prices of clothing and footwear and food and non-alcoholic beverages. The most significant downward contribution was from transport, where the cost of second-hand cars fell significantly.
Labour Market Statistics
The ILO measure of unemployment fell by 8,000 over the quarter to 2.47 million. The three-month unemployment rate remained at 7.8%. The claimant count measure of unemployment – which records the number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance – rose by 2,300 to 1.47 million, after six consecutive monthly falls. There are 135,500 fewer claimants than at this point last year but the number of first time claimants rose to the highest level in nine months.
Month on month retail sales volumes fell by 0.5% in August. There were lower sales in most areas with only non-store retailers (such as internet retailers) and department stores seeing sales rise.
EEF Pay Settlements
The three-month average pay settlement was 1.9% in August, down from a revised 2.0% for July, which was the highest reading since December 2008. The proportion of pay deals between 0.0% and 2.0% rose slightly to 34.3% in the three months to August from 33.6% in July. However, the proportion of pay deals between 2.0% and 3.0% fell slightly to 33.3% from 34.5% in July after a significant rise from 28.0% in June. The monthly average pay settlement fell to 1.1% in August, compared with a revised figure of 1.9% in July.
The week ahead
Mon 20th: Trends in lending;
Tue 21st: Public Sector Finances;
Wed 22nd: MPC minutes;
Join us for EEF’s political party conference programme
The autumn Party Conference season is traditionally a good opportunity to meet and influence policy-makers, especially with a new Government and soon-to-be elected new leader of the Labour Party. EEF is running the following events, which are open to guests.
‘Road to recovery: The role of UK manufacturing and competiveness’
A Fabian Society policy roundtable seminar supported by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and the Food and Drink Federation
Speakers: Adrian Bailey, Chair, Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee; Adam Lent, Head of the Economic and Social Affairs Department, TUC; Juergen Maier, Managing Director of the Siemens UK Industry Sector; Chair: Sam Fleming, Economics Editor, Times Online.
Labour Party Conference, Monday 27th September 2010, 8 - 9.30 am Manchester Town Hall, Manchester
Places are limited and filling fast; please RSVP in good time to firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Developing new talent – how can the UK win the international skills race?’
A policy debate sponsored by BAE Systems and EEF, the manufacturers' organisation
Speakers: Jonathan Guthrie, Enterprise and Midlands Correspondent, the FT (Chair); Conservative Speaker tbc; Nigel Whitehead, Group Managing Director Programmes & Support, BAE systems; Will Hutton, Executive Vice Chair, The Work Foundation; and Lee Hopley, Chief Economist, EEF
Conservative Party Conference, Tuesday 5 October, 8 - 9.30am
Hall 10a, The ICC, Birmingham (this event is inside the secure zone, therefore a pass is required). Refreshments provided
‘Size Matters? Does the UK Need More, Larger, Manufacturing Companies?’
An Enterprise Forum debate sponsored by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation
With some notable exceptions, manufacturing in the UK is characterised by a lower proportion of large manufacturing companies in comparison to other industrialised nations such as the USA and Germany. This debate asks does this matter and if so what can we do about it?
Speakers: Rt. Hon. David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Innovation; Steve Radley, Director of Policy and External Affairs, EEF; Sir Richard Needham, Deputy Chairman, Dyson Ltd; Jonathan Guthrie, Enterprise and Midlands Correspondent, the FT
Conservative Party Conference, Tuesday 5 October, 12.45 – 2pm Jubilee Suite, Copthorne Hotel Birmingham (outside the secure zone). Open to the public, refreshments provided
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