Intelligence Briefing 16th October 2014

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In this issue:

Payments for companies employing reservists | Member case studies sought on a range of employment issues | Weekly Focus: Energy Policy for Manufacturers: an Agenda for Government | In Parliament | In the news | Week in review | Week ahead

News

Payments for companies employing reservists

Small and medium sized employers are now able to receive up to £500 per month for each full month a reservist, employed within their company, is absent from work. This has increased significantly, as previously military reservists were paid directly by the Ministry of Defence, with employers claiming expenses in respect of additional costs incurred whilst replacing them – up to a maximum of £110 per day. It follows employers’ views, including those from EEF, into a White Paper indicating that the costs of employing a reservist outweighed the benefits.

The changes, which came into effect on 1 October 2014, give businesses financial incentives worth up to £6,000 a year per mobilised reservist. SMEs are then allowed to claim up to £500 each month when their reservist employee is mobilised, in a bid to encourage businesses to continue being supportive employers towards them. This financial incentive is on top of the existing employers’ award which covers the cost of replacing reservists when they are mobilised and claiming re-training costs when they return to work.

For more information about EEF’s response to the Future Reserves 2020, please contact Verity O’Keefe, Employment and Skills Policy Advisor

Member case studies sought on a range of employment issues

EEF are looking for member case studies in a number of employment-related areas.

On behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), we are looking for companies that post workers to other member states and/or host employees from other member states. This will inform the UK Government’s work on the Posting of Workers Directive. In particular, BIS are keen to establish what job roles and skill levels employees that are posted to other member states fill, and to what extent certain sectors rely on posting workers to other member states, or hosting posted workers.

Other case studies are sought by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) who are seeking best practices from employers on the positive management of pregnancy and maternity in the workplace. The aim is to showcase these, highlighting how the practices provide practical solutions to common challenges and reinforce positive attitudes to pregnant employees and new mothers. This is particularly topical given the introduction of Shared Parental Leave.

If you would like to put your organisation forward as a case study for the above, please contact Verity O’Keefe, Employment and Skills Policy Advisor

Weekly focus

Energy policy for manufacturers: an agenda for government

EEF has published a new report detailing the results of a recent survey of the views of our members on energy policy and costs, and the practical impacts these are having, and are expected to have, on manufacturers.

The key findings of the survey detailed in the report are:

  • The cost of energy is the greatest energy; related concern for 51% of manufacturers and a concern for 83%
  • Spending on energy represents 6% or more of total company turnover for 27% of UK manufacturing companies;
  • Projected energy price rises could reduce the competitiveness of 53% of manufacturers, see 25% consider investing in facilities outside the UK and cause 34% to reduce spending in other areas of their businesses.

In advance of the General Election next May and finalisation of the political party manifestos, EEF is calling for three broad commitments in support of manufacturers:

  • Cross-party commitment to full implementation of the Energy Intensive Industry (EII) compensation package as soon as possible and a longer term view of protection measures required;
  • A reformed approach to industrial energy efficiency and decarbonisation, drawing on the outcome of the industrial 2050 low carbon roadmaps;
  • Review and reform of the costs to energy consumers of decarbonising the power sector, ensuring emissions related taxes and policies are aimed at emission reductions as opposed to raising revenue.

For more information contact Richard Warren, Senior Energy and Environment Policy Adviser

In Parliament

Tom Blenkinsop, Opposition Whip, referenced EEF’s Energy Policy for Manufacturers: an Agenda for Government’ report in a Westminster Hall debate on the steel industry this week.

In the media

EEF’s report on the cost of energy for manufacturers featured in The Times (£), The Daily Telegraph (link unavailable) and The Independent (link unavailable).

The Observer mentioned EEF in an article on rebalancing the economy and apprenticeships.

Week in review

↓ Consumer price inflation

Consumer price inflation fell to 1.2% in September 2014, its lowest level since September 2009. There was downward pressure on prices from transport, recreation and culture, and restaurants and hotels. There #were no notable upward contributions to the change in the CPI 12-month rate.

↑ Labour market statistics

The number of people in employment was up by 46,000 in the three months to August, compared with previous three-month period. The ILO measure of unemployment was down 154,000 over the quarter, and the ILO unemployment rate continued to fall, reaching 6.0% in the three months to August. The Claimant Count measure of unemployment – which records the number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance – also fell, to 2.8% in August.

The week ahead

22 October 2014: MPC minutes

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