Intelligence Briefing 14th March 2015

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In this issue: Register for free EEF webinar on state of manufacturing and General Election results | Invitation to EEF and Engineering Council Event | New dates added to manufacturing focus group on reform of the business rates system | Circular economy on the agenda with European Commission and MEPs Conservative Government formed | 40% EEF member discount for Design Council Summit | In the Media | Week in Review | The week ahead | Blogs from this week

Register for free EEF webinar on state of manufacturing and General Election results

EEF is hosting its first quarterly live webinar on the state of the manufacturing industry on Tuesday 2nd June, following the publication of the latest quarterly Manufacturing Outlook report. Chief Economist Lee Hopley will discuss the importance of the manufacturing sector to overall economic growth, the latest forecasts across the economy and manufacturing sectors, and highlight opportunities and challenges facing manufacturers. Policy Director Paul Raynes will also discuss the impact of the General Election results on manufacturing.

For more information or to register for the webinar visit EEF’s website.

Invitation to EEF and Engineering Council Event

EEF, together with the Engineering Council, would like to invite you to an event to learn about Engineering Gateways: a work-based learning route to professional registration on Friday 19th June 2015. It will be held at EEF’s Technology Training Centre on Friday 19th June from 1.00pm – 3.00pm including lunch, and will also include a tour of EEF’s Technology Training Centre.

Many engineers already in the workplace aspire to achieve an undergraduate or postgraduate degree then professional registration without moving from employment to full-time study. Work-based learning routes are valuable both to individuals and to employers who want to ensure their businesses have the skills they need for the future. This is your opportunity to learn about the scheme and voice your own ideas about how it could work even better for employers of all sizes. You will hear from employers and students that are currently on the engineering gateways as well as higher education institutions and professional institutions.

If you or your colleagues would like to attend this event, please RSVP to Catherine Elliott at celliott@engc.org.uk

New dates added to manufacturing focus group on reform of the business rates system

The Treasury are currently consulting on reform to the structure of the business rates system in England. A potential reform of the system could lead to significant consequences for manufacturers, from paying higher rates to more frequent revaluations.

Other sectors will be putting forward their own proposals for reform which could unintentionally affect manufacturers. EEF needs to make sure the views of our sector are heard just as clearly and are inviting manufacturers to attend one of our upcoming focus groups to give their valuable input on this important issue.

These sessions will be going into the detail of the business rates system and its impact, therefore attendance from those with a good working knowledge of business rates would be invaluable.

EEF are interested in hearing about:

  • The role of business rates on your business planning and your site operating costs
  • Having plant and machinery assessed as part of your rateable value during the revaluation process
  • Making appeals to your rateable value following changes to your site

The events will be held on:

  • Thursday 28th May - Morning session with a working breakfast – Broadway House, Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NQ
  • Wednesday 3rd June - Morning session followed by lunch – St James’s House, Frederick Road, Birmingham, B15 1JJ
  • Tuesday 9th June – Afternoon session preceded by lunch – Permaban Ltd, Ivybridge, Devon, PL21 9GL

For more information or to book your place contact Chris Richards, Senior Business Environment Policy Advisor

Circular economy on the agenda with European Commission and MEPs

EEF met with the European Commission’s Growth and Environment Directorates to discuss the forthcoming consultation on an Action Plan on the Circular Economy. We stressed the importance of removing legal barriers to remanufacturing and urged the Commission to create a legislative framework that encourages rather than mandates action by manufacturers.

The circular economy is an economic system which moves the traditional take-make-disposal model of production and consumption to one where products, components and materials are kept in useful circulation for as long as possible through repair, servicing, remanufacturing and recycling. Whilst there are potential economic opportunities for manufacturers from this approach, there is also the threat of increased regulation. For example, there are calls for manufacturers to design products so that they are easier to dismantle, to be directly responsible for products at the end of their life and to extend warranties for products.

The discussions continued with MEPs and Commission officials at a European Forum for Manufacturing event looking at the role of remanufacturing in the circular economy. EEF called on the Commission to ensure that competitiveness was not damaged through arbitrary regulation but instead for enabling legislative framework which would remove legal barriers hindering action, such as elements of chemical and product regulation as well as lack of clarity in waste regulation.

The Commission’s consultation on the circular economy will be launched this month. EEF wants to hear from manufacturers as it continues to campaign on this issue. To get involved, contact Susanne Baker, Senior Climate and Environment Policy Adviser

Conservative Government formed

Following the 2015 General Election, Prime Minister David Cameron has formed a new Government, which includes Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP as Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Amber Rudd MP as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. For further details on the ministers confirmed so far visit the Government website.

40% EEF member discount for Design Council Summit

EEF members are entitled to an exclusive 40% discount at the Design Council’s Leading Business by Design Summit on Thursday 18th June at Birmingham City University. The summit will explore how design methods and tools are being used to drive positive change within UK manufacturing businesses and their supply chains. When implemented correctly, design-led thinking can increase productivity, raise employee engagement, reduce waste and decrease costs. Speakers include representatives from Rolls-Royce, Volvo, Dyson and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and EEF Chief Economist Lee Hopley.

Register for the summit here and save £165 by quoting promotional code EEF40.

In the media

EEF’s comments on the General Election results featured in The Financial Times (subscription required), The Times (£), The Sunday Times (£), The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Sunday Express.

EEF response to the appointment of Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP as Business Secretary appeared in The Guardian and BBC News. UK Steel’s comments on the appointment of Amber Rudd MP as Energy and Climate Change Secretary featured in The Times (£).

Our comments on the latest IoP data also appeared on BBC News.

For more information contact Sophie Carroll, External Affairs Executive

Week in review

UK Trade

In 2015 q1, the trade in goods deficit widened by £0.8bn to £29.9bn, resulting from a £2.7bn fall in exports and a £1.9bn fall in imports. The fall in exports in reflects a £2.2bn decrease in exports of fuels; specifically, oil exported to EU countries.

Index of production

Manufacturing output increased by 0.4% between February 2015 and March 2015. The largest contribution came from basic pharmaceutical products & pharmaceutical preparations.

Labour market statistics

Improvements in the labour market continued as the employment rate rose to 73.5%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.5%.

The week ahead

19th May: Consumer prices and producer prices
20th May: EEF Pay Settlements

Blogs from this week

13 May 2015 - BoE inflation forecast unchanged after labour market release | George Nikolaidis
12 May 2015 - Ups and downs of industrial production | Lee Hopley
11 May 2015 - Congrats on winning the election but the real work starts now | Terry Scuoler
08 May 2015 - And now down to business | Paul Raynes

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