Intelligence Briefing - 26 February 2010

Published: 26/02/2010

EEF's weekly briefing on the issues affecting manufacturers including an introduction to Manufacturing Week, as well as our regular round up of how we are representing manufacturers and the latest economic indicators.


 

Manufacturing Week, 1-5 March 2010

love manufacturing - EEF manufacturing week 2010

On Monday EEF is launching a week of activity - Manufacturing Week - as part of our ongoing campaign to highlight the importance of manufacturing to the UK economy.

Highlights will include:

  • The publication of a manufacturing supplement in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday;
  • The release of our latest, and very interesting, Manufacturing Outlook report, which you will be able to read on our website from Monday;
  • A range of events across the country; and
  • The launch of a Manifesto for Manufacturing at the end of next week.

You can support Manufacturing Week by visiting the ‘get involved’ part of website and:

  • Signing up to our Manufacturing Pledge and telling us what you think is great about our sector
  • Downloading a range of letters which you can send to your local parliamentary candidates
  • Downloading a ‘We ♥ manufacturing’ logo and displaying it on your website

You will also be able to follow all next week’s activity at our blog.


EEF discusses health of manufacturing with key decision makers

As part of EEF’s ongoing dialogue with officials, we briefed the Chief Economist at the Bank of England, economists from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and representatives from UKTI on our latest manufacturing survey. In advance of Monday’s release of our new Manufacturing Outlook report we highlighted the improvement in confidence across the sector, but also some of the uncertainties that companies will be dealing with over the course of this year.

For further information contact Lee Hopley, Chief Economist

Top official debates economic recovery with members

Sir Nick Macpherson, Permanent Secretary at the Treasury, met with EEF members this week to discuss a range of issues from tax to the trade deficit. Specifically on tax, Sir Nick promoted his Department’s tax principles document, which also came out this week, and EEF will shortly be publishing its timely tax manifesto. Ahead of a meeting with bank bosses, Sir Nick asked for feedback on current credit conditions and also acknowledged the role of manufacturing in a better balanced economy.

For further information contact Jennifer Huckstep, Senior External Affairs Adviser

MEPs lobbied on potentially damaging changes to maternity pay

Working in close consultations with the UK government, EEF has been meeting with MEPs this week to try to persuade them to reject amendments to the Pregnant Workers Directive, which would require all Member States to provide 20 weeks maternity leave at full pay. It is estimated that this would increase maternity costs in the UK by around £2bn. You can read more about our campaign in the press coverage section below. A vote on the proposal will take place in mid-March, after which the proposal will have to get the backing of Member States.

For further information contact David Yeandle, Head of Employment Policy

Climate change negotiators meet with EEF

UK government climate change negotiators met with members of EEF and the Manufacturers’ Climate Change Group (MCCG) on Tuesday. This followed a meeting in November 2009 before the Copenhagen Summit where the impact of climate change policy and international agreements on business were discussed. The discussion at this week’s dinner shifted from anticipation to implementation, with the nitty gritty of how the ‘agreement’ will work in practice being a major subject of discussion as well as the ongoing competitiveness concerns for business.

For further information contact Jennifer Huckstep, Senior External Affairs Adviser


 

In the news

Our campaign to resist costly changes to maternity pay has received lots of coverage this week including in the FT, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail. We also published our latest survey results on credit conditions showing a continued stablilisation in the cost of, and access to, finance which were featured in the FT and Daily Telegraph. Finally the EEF awards also continue to be covered in the regional press whilst our occupational health expertise was reflected in a report on our leading role in developing the electronic 'fit note'. Don’t forget to look out for our Manufacturing Week supplement in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday.


Week in review

Business investment

Manufacturing investment fell further in the final three months of 2009. Business investment across the sector declined by 8.4% in q4, bring the total fall in 2009 to over 35%. All components of investment – vehicles, building and new equipment – have seen significant cuts.

UK GDP

GDP growth in the fourth quarter was revised upwards from 0.1% to 0.3%. Household and government spending and inventories made positive contributions to growth, while investment and net trade provided a further drag.

Consumer confidence

Consumer confidence edged higher in February, taking the index to -14 from -17 in January. There was a slight improvement in households’ expectations of the general economic situation in the next 12 months, but no improvement in the climate for major purchases.

 

The week ahead

Monday 1st: Manufacturing PMI; EEF Business Trends Survey; Lending to individuals

Thursday 4th: MPC announcement

Friday 5th: Producer prices


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