EEF's weekly briefing on the issues affecting manufacturers includes news on our Making our future' event and details of how we are urging the government to take on board the thinking set out in the Commission on Employment and Skills (UKCES) report, as well as our regular round up of how we are representing manufacturers and the latest economic indicators.
Making our future
December 11, 2009, 8am for 8.30am - 10am at GKN Aerospace Ltd, Bristol
The intersection of the UK's design and materials expertise is allowing manufacturers to tackle emerging problems from climate change to infectious diseases. And capitalising on these capabilities allows manufacturers to continually add value in increasingly competitive and rapidly evolving global markets. How is design changing the future of UK manufacturing? What are the key drivers and priorities for materials and design? How can we overcome barriers?
Panel speakers include Marie-Anne Mackenzie, Director, Manufacturing and Materials Unit, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Steve Radley, Director of Policy, EEF with additional panel speakers to be confirmed.
Places at the event are limited. To register, email Claire Fegan
Week in review
Minister pressed on employment red tape
The flexibility of the UK’s labour market is vital for manufacturing. This was the message we gave in a meeting with the Employment Minister, Lord Young. We welcomed the decision to delay the Agency Workers Directive, but we emphasised the need to minimise its effect when it eventually comes into force. We also outlined the findings of a forthcoming survey, which shows that EEF members would be opposed to removing the statutory default retirement age. This will be the subject of a government review in the near future.
For further information contact Steve Coventry, Senior External Affairs Adviser
EEF debate hears familiar criticism of banking sector
The banking system is unfit for purpose and often fails to support manufacturing. That was the verdict of John McFall MP, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, and other guests at an EEF debate on finance on Wednesday. You can read more about the event (in which the audience had the opportunity to share experiences of access to finance and future funding streams) at our blog.
For further information contact Jeegar Kakkad, Senior Economist
Peers lobbied on Equality Bill
We have joined other business organisations in making a presentation to members of the House of Lords on our concerns about the forthcoming Equality Bill. We explained that, whilst it is sensible that this Bill consolidates all existing discrimination legislation, it must be supported with clear and practical guidance for employers on equality issues. We also indicated our opposition to a mandatory requirement on employers to publish gender pay data and the inclusion of provisions on dual discrimination in the Bill.
For further information contact, David Yeandle, Head of Employment Policy
EEF continues to campaign for greater support for resource efficiency
Responding to Environment Secretary Hillary Benn’s speech at the annual WRAP conference “Resource Efficiency: The Future for UK Business?”, we welcomed efforts to raise awareness of the business benefits from resource efficiency but stressed that direct support for companies wishing to identify environmental and cost impacts of waste and, improve the resource efficiency of their products and services, would continue to be needed.
For further information contact Vanessa Fandrich, Senior Climate and Environment Policy Adviser
In the news
We began this week with The Guardian, Telegraph and Independent all picking up our call for the Bank of England to extend quantitative easing by £50 billion. Later in the week our response to the manufacturing output figures and the Bank's eventual £25 billion boost were reported in The Times, on the BBC website and the FT. Indeed we have provided a lot of copy for the ‘Pink ‘Un’ this week, with the paper also reporting on our recent pensions survey*, our response to David Cameron’s Europe speech and our lobbying on the equality bill! (The latter also featured in People Management.) There was also a report on our finance debate (see above) in The Manufacturer.
*click here for details
With the government expected to outline its new approach on skills next week, EEF’s Skills Policy Adviser, Nigel Fletcher, looks at current developments in this area, including a recent and compelling report by the Commission on Employment and Skills (UKCES). We are urging the government to take on board the thinking set out in the Commission’s report, and use it to develop a long-term strategy for skills. Find out more here.
Week in Review
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to extend its quantitative easing (QE) asset purchases by £25 billion over three months and keep interest rates on hold. By extending its QE programme, the MPC will have provided almost £200bn (15% of GDP) in new money to the economy since March of this year.
Manufacturing output grew by 1.7% month-on-month in September and contracted slightly by 0.1% in the third quarter. The CIPS/Markit Purchasing Manager’s Index for October, rose to 53.7 from 49.9 in September, the first reading above 50 since the recession began.
New vehicle registrations rose by 13.6% from September to October as the government’s scrappage scheme continues to boost demand.
Output prices rose by 1.7% in the year to October, while input prices rose by 0.1% compared to 12 months ago.
Forthcoming data and statistics
10 October: UK Trade – September, ONS.
11 October: Bank of England Inflation Report; Labour market statistics Sep/Oct, ONS.
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