EEF comment onSecretary of State for Businessconference speech

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Commenting on the speech today by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers organisation, said:

“The Secretary of State delivered a frank and honest assessment of the work that still needs to be done to re-balance our economy. But, he also delivered a long-term vision for a high-value, high-skill economy based on a modern industrial strategy and an educated workforce. The next government of whichever colour must reassure business that this will be the central aim of policy.

“Many manufacturing businesses will welcome the business secretary’s commitment to increasing pay for apprentices, as this will go some way increasing the status and demand for Apprenticeships. We have also made a recommendation to the Low Pay Commission that the Apprentice Rate is scrapped, and instead learners paid their age-specific minimum wage, which would give Apprentices a significant boost to their pay.

“It is good to hear the Business Secretary injecting some common sense into the debate about immigration. The current system is extremely complex and costly for businesses, and hampers employers’ ability to recruit highly skilled engineers. It is crucial that the UK is seen as an attractive place for international students to study and work. He also highlighted the role of freedom of movement as part of the wider open market in the EU, something that businesses want to preserve, alongside British membership.”

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