Intelligence Briefing 25th June 2015

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In this issue: Weekly Focus: EEF urges Chancellor to prioritise productivity | EEF briefs key Cabinet Office Minister, Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP | EEF briefs Shadow Chancellor, Shadow Business Secretary and Labour adviser ahead of the Budget | The EU referendum | Invitation to Eversheds’ breakfast debate event on EU referendum | In Parliament | In the Media | Week in Review | The week ahead | Blogs from this week

Weekly Focus: EEF urges Chancellor to prioritise productivity

This week EEF published its Manufacturing a solution to the productivity crisis report, which urges the Chancellor to help solve Britain’s productivity crisis by targeting Government spending in areas that support growth in high value manufacturing. The report finds that with the right policies in place, manufacturing could deliver 40% of Britain’s productivity gains over the next decade.

The report pre-empts the Government’s own report on productivity, which is due to be published soon by the Treasury. It calls on the Chancellor to prioritise tax, spending and deregulation towards the sectors of the economy that have a strong record on productivity improvements.

The report shows that British manufacturers are more productive than other parts of the economy and therefore have a key role to play in improving the UK’s poor record on productivity. In the past five years output per hour in manufacturing has grown four times faster, on average, than that across the whole economy.

EEF is calling on all Government departments to throw their weight behind this agenda and prioritise investment in programmes which offer the greatest growth and productivity dividends, which will be much more achievable if Government avoids an across-the-board cut to budget departments.

EEF is also urging Government to work with business to improve productivity with policies underlying 3 key principles including:

1. The levelling up of performance between the strongest and weakest performing businesses

  • Permanently setting the Annual Investment Allowance at £250k.
  • Ensuring migration policy does not prevent companies accessing skilled employees from outside the EU.
  • Protecting funding for the critical Catapult network.

2. A greater focus on the most productive sectors and reduction in barriers to growth

  • Maintaining internationally competitive R&D tax credits and an open approach to innovation engagement with EU partners.
  • Ensuring funding for Apprenticeships is maintained and channelled through a voucher system to put employers in the driving seat.
  • Implementing the recommendations of the Competition & Markets Authority to improve competition in business banking.

3. Using proven areas of government spending which spread good practice

  • Driving ahead with the road investment strategy and implementing the recommendation of the Davies Commission as soon as possible.
  • Committing to strategic planning for the UK’s infrastructure requirements beyond this Parliament.
  • Widening better regulation to include the tax and administration agenda.
  • Maintaining the breath and stability of UKTI funding for export support.

For more information contact Lee Hopley, Chief Economist

EEF briefs key Cabinet Office Minister, Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP

This week EEF met with Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP, a key Cabinet Office Minister who plays a crucial role in the government’s Cabinet implementation taskforces. We briefed the Minister on key issues around productivity, industrial strategy, export support, skills and support for energy intensive industries. We will continue to engage with the Minister and are following up with some more detailed briefings.

For more information contact Rocky Lorusso, Head of Government Affairs

EEF briefs Shadow Chancellor, Shadow Business Secretary and Labour adviser ahead of the Budget

As part of EEF’s on-going engagement with all parties ahead of the Budget, we briefed the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Chris Leslie MP, and held a separate meeting with Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. We briefed both on them on the manufacturing sector’s priorities for the forthcoming Budget on 8 July and in particular discussed issues around industrial strategy and productivity. We will continue to engage with the Opposition over the coming months in order to ensure they are well-briefed on important issues for the manufacturing sector. EEF will be releasing its budget submission in the coming week.

For more information contact Rocky Lorusso, Head of Government Affairs

The EU referendum

EEF is seeking manufacturing companies in each region who would be keen to get involved in the forthcoming referendum campaign about Britain’s future in Europe. This will be an opportunity for companies to become case studies, setting out why EU membership is important to manufacturers.

Please contact the PR team if you are keen to take part.

Invitation to Eversheds’ breakfast debate event on EU referendum

In light of the forthcoming EU referendum, Eversheds is holding a breakfast debate event on Britain’s position in Europe. The debate will be held at Eversheds’ Birmingham offices on Friday 10th July at 8am. The debate will take a ‘Question Time’ format with panellists including Ken Clarke MP, Pat McFadden MP and Mike Wright, Executive Director of Jaguar Land Rover. For more information or to register to attend, email alisonclark@eversheds.com.

In Parliament

In an Opposition Day debate on skills and growth, Khalid Mahmood MP for Perry Barr, Birmingham, discussed the importance of EEF’s Technology Training Centre in Aston and how organisations such as EEF can support Birmingham’s advanced manufacturing zone.

In the media

EEF’s ‘Manufacturing a solution to the productivity crisis’ report was covered in The Times (£) and The Daily Telegraph.

The EU referendum and its potential impact on business certainty continued to feature in the news this week, with The Financial Times (subscription required), Sky News and The Daily Mail quoting Chief Executive Terry Scuoler’s comments on the referendum.

With National Women Engineering Day taking place on Tuesday 23 June, skills was high on the agenda. Senior Employment and Skills Policy Adviser Verity O’Keefe was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on skills shortages, and The Daily Mail (link unavailable) referenced our statistics on engineering apprentice and graduate pay.

Our response to the Cole Commission report on exporting featured in The Financial Times (subscription required).

For more information contact Sophie Carroll, External Affairs Executive

Week in review

No major UK statistical releases

The week ahead

30th June: UK GDP (2015 Q1 final estimate), Business Investment, Balance of Payments
1st July: Manufacturing PMI

Blogs from this week

22 Jun 2015 - Week ahead 22nd June by George Nikolaidis

24 Jun 2015 - UK trade - airports are more important than you think by Chris Richards

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