Intelligence Briefing - 24 June 2011

Published: 24/06/2011

Significant progress on health & safety directive | Members contribute to EEF's response to greenhouse gas reporting consultation | DECC officials lobbied by EEF on climate change policy | Bribery Act comes in to force on 1 July | Weekly focus: Round two of the Government's Growth Review | EEF in the news | The week in review | The week ahead


NEWS

Significant progress on health & safety directive

Working through our European partner, CEEMET, we have won major concessions in the European Commission's proposal for a new Electromagnetic Fields Directive that affect all manufacturing businesses.

Up until the end of May the Commission's proposal would have resulted in all manufacturing workplaces having to commission expensive measurements and post warning signs, despite the fact that for the vast majority, exposures would have been way below the exposure limits.

We convinced the Commission's Enterprise Directorate to intervene on our behalf and these requirements have been removed from the final proposal that now passes to the European Parliament and Council for decision.

It appears that almost all manufacturing processes will be below the exposure action levels and so will be able to continue unchanged. However, we have concerns about the ability of a few specialist processes, particularly high-powered resistance welding, to comply with the limits. We are carrying out tests and if problems do exist will be taking robust action to get this corrected.

For further information please contact Steve Pointer, Head of Health and Safety Policy

Members contribute to EEF's response to greenhouse gas reporting consultation

EEF Members attended a focus group at Broadway House earlier this week to discuss the Defra consultation on whether to make Greenhouse Gas Reporting mandatory.

This was a productive meeting where it was unilaterally decided that Greenhouse Gas reporting should remain voluntary. EEF welcomed the guidance published by Defra in 2009 and would like to see it being promoted more than it is presently as this will enable them to realise greater up-take. We will be developing a formal response to the consultation that will set out why there is additional benefit in making Greenhouse Gas reporting mandatory ahead of the 5th July deadline.

For more information or to provide comments please contact Helen Drury, Senior Climate and Environment Policy Advisor

DECC officials lobbied by EEF on climate change policy

Our concern that UK climate change policy is unilaterally driving up energy prices for manufacturers was the main issue that we discussed with Phil Wynn Owen this week. Phil is Director General of the International Climate Change and Energy Efficiency group at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

We pointed out that a lack of strategic vision within this policy landscape is hampering investment and will not lead to an effective rebalancing of the UK economy. We called for a package of measures aimed at companies that are exposed to international competition, one that puts them on a more level playing field in line with direct competitors.

For more information please contact Gareth Stace, Head of Climate & Environment Policy

Bribery Act comes in to force on 1 July

The Bribery Act comes into force on 1 July and creates a new corporate crime of failing to prevent bribery. Companies will be liable for bribery committed by their associates – including overseas associates – unless they have put in place adequate procedures to prevent bribery.

In response to increasing member demand, we have organised two half-day seminars on the Bribery Act. We have partnered with Squire Sanders Hammonds and Siemens Plc to help members understand the practical implications of the Act and help ensure they can prove they operate in a corruption-free way.

Secure your place at our Bribery Act Seminars


WEEKLY FOCUS


Round two of the Government's Growth Review

Having set out a detailed plan to rebuild the health of the public finances in Budget 2010 and in the Chancellor's 2010 Autumn Statement, the Government initiated several parliament-long Growth Reviews to incentivise and remove barriers to private sector growth. In Budget 2011, the Chancellor announced the outcomes of the Government's first round of 12 Growth Reviews, which included reviews on 'Advanced Manufacturing', 'Access to Finance' and 'Regulation'. These 12 reviews led to 182 cross-government policy announcements, including EEF recommendations on reforming capital allowances.

At a meeting with BIS and HMT officials this week, we also urged the Government to ensure it follows through on the 182 actions from the first set of Growth Reviews. To this end, EEF will be meeting with BIS officials to follow up the Advanced Manufacturing specific recommendations, and to raise further issues that the Government should consider – including on investment and carbon taxation – that the Government should consider as part of its parliament-long review of the sector.

In June, the Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the second round of Growth Reviews, which will focus on growing mid-cap companies, skills policy, infrastructure, the rural economy, planning and open data. Although these reviews are still in their early stages, EEF is already working closely with the Department for Business and Treasury officials to refine the scope of the mid-caps and skills reviews in particular, so that the Government focuses on concerns specific to manufacturing and EEF members.

Ahead of EEF's forthcoming meetings with BIS and Treasury officials if any EEF members have comments, questions or concerns about either the first or second phases of the Government's Growth Review, and in particular on the mid-caps or skills reviews, please contact Lee Hopley, Chief Economist.


EEF IN THE NEWS

Our pay data was the main item of news coverage this week being reported in The Independent, Daily Express and The Times (subscription required). At regional level we now have regular columns by the North West and Midlands Regional Directors in the Liverpool Daily Post and Birmingham Post respectively.


THE WEEK IN REVIEW


Public Sector Finances

Public sector net debt (excluding financial interventions) was £920.9bn (equivalent to 60.6% of GDP) at the end of May 2011. This compares with £778.9bn (53.8% of GDP) at the end of May 2010.

MPC minutes

The newest member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, Ben Broadbent, voted with the majority of the committee to maintain the base rate at 0.5%. He replaced Andrew Sentance who had been calling for a 0.5 percentage point rise in the base rate.


THE WEEK AHEAD


Tue 28th: GDP final cut; Business Investment; Balance of Payments

Wed 29th: Index of Services; Productivity; Lending to Individuals

Thu 30th: Retail sales; Credit Conditions


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Trade Body of the Year, Public Affairs Awards 2011; Best Rebrand by Sector - manufacturing and Best Implementation of a Rebrand