EEF meet with Number 10 business relations adviser
This week EEF met with the Prime Minister’s business relations adviser, Chris Hopkins, at 10 Downing Street. We discussed members’ views on the current Government’s record on support for manufacturing, set out EEF’s policy priorities for the next Government and explored business attitudes to the EU. EEF will be following up on the meeting with Mr Hopkins and will continue engaging with key business advisers from all political parties in the run-up to the General Election.
For more information contact Paul Raynes, Director of Policy
Barriers to exporting on agenda with Cole Commission
This week EEF attended a roundtable organised and hosted by Reform, to hear from Graham Cole CBE, Chair of the independent Cole Commission on the Commission’s initial findings and discuss the ways in which the government can aid businesses that wish to export internationally.
The independent review was commissioned by the Labour party and will examine how Government can support businesses in the UK to export through better access to finance, better skills including language skills, and supported access to markets, as well as how government export schemes can be simplified and streamlined.
EEF responded to the Cole Commission’s call for submissions. Our response outlined the range of issues that affect manufacturers’ ability to export, such as trade barriers, differences in business practices, and a lack of knowledge about opportunities. Whilst current support does help overcome some of these barriers, it can be built upon. We explained that any support will require a stable and predictable funding stream and a coordinated policy response from government departments. Ultimately, there is no one thing that will make the UK a more successful exporting economy, and the UK needs a business environment that enables companies to invest, innovate and grow.
For more information, or to speak to the EEF policy team about your company’s experience of export support, please contact Madeleine Scott, Senior Policy Researcher
2050 Industrial Low Carbon Roadmaps receive public launch
On Wednesday, the 2050 Industrial Low Carbon Roadmap received a public launch at the Royal Academy of Engineering. The project, a collaboration between the Departments of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and industry and academics, was set in motion some eighteen months ago following calls from EEF and other industrial bodies for an evidence-based, Government-sanctioned study of the true emissions reduction potential in Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs). The research has now been completed and the final conclusions and reports are expected to be published next month.
Opening the event, EEF’s Head of Climate and Environment Policy Gareth Stace, noted that the roadmap project should be seen as “a new understanding, new trust and a new vision of what can be achieved by all of us with a stake in the UK’s future”, marking a break from the use of climate change policy as a “blunt instrument, applied across industry with little understanding of how individual sectors work.”
The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey MP, also spoke at the event and hinted at a much-needed change in approach noting that “government may need to put its hand in it pocket” in order to enact the change required.
For more information contact Richard Warren, Senior Energy and Environment Policy Adviser
Referendum on the agenda with Conservative European Mainstream Group
Britain’s future as a member of the European Union was the main topic for discussion when EEF met with Damian Green MP, Chairman of the Conservative European Mainstream Group.
Mr Green, a former Conservative government minister and prominent supporter of the EU, discussed the potential implications of holding a referendum on Britain’s future in Europe. In turn, EEF briefed Mr Green on current policy priorities and its work in Brussels. EEF also updated Mr Green on the work of Ceemet, the European association for employers in engineering and manufacturing, which Chief Executive Terry Scuoler chairs and which represents more than 200,000 companies across the EU.
For more information contact Hywel Jarman, Director of External Affairs
EEF launches Lean Academy for SMEs
EEF has launched a new Lean Academy for mid-sized companies and SMEs. The move will give smaller manufacturers the same access to market-leading, transformational Lean techniques as their larger peers.
To mark the launch, EEF invited a number of journalists to its Technology Training Centre in Aston where they took part in a Lean Assembly Challenge. This saw them working in teams with apprentices and against the clock to see the impact Lean techniques could have on a practical task such as assembling a trolley.
EEF’s new Lean Academy is built around a full-scale, configurable and transportable modular assembly line, which can be reconfigured daily to challenge a company’s employees as they work through a 12 day programme. This makes the exercises real-to-life and relevant to the individual business. The content of the Academy is bespoke, making it even easier for employees to apply the techniques successfully in their workplace.
For more information contact Dr Steve Chicken, Manufacturing Growth Director
In the Lords’ report stage of the Deregulation Bill, EEF’s views were referenced by Lord McKenzie of Luton and Lord Jordan.
In the media
EEF’s survey on members' attitudes towards airport expansion featured in The Financial Times (£) and The Times (£). Our response to Labour’s announcement on plans for an infrastructure commission also appeared in The Financial Times (£) and The Times (£).
UK Steel’s annual data on industry growth was reported in The Daily Mail and BBC News.
Our response to the latest PMI data was quoted in The Financial Times (£) and The Guardian (link unavailable).
The Daily Telegraph referenced EEF’s report on reshoring in an article on innovation in the manufacturing industry.
Week in review
The manufacturing PMI registered a positive start to 2015, rising to 53.0 in January, from 52.7 in December. This marked the twenty-third successive month of expansion. The domestic market remained the main pillar supporting the upturn, however, overseas demand improved somewhat, with the first meaningful improvement in new export order volumes registered for five months.
The week ahead
6th February: UK Trade
10th February: Index of Production