Intelligence Briefing 21st May 2015 | EEF

Intelligence Briefing 21st May 2015

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In this issue: EEF meets with new Business Secretary | Briefing the new Trade and Investment Minister | EEF challenges the Environment Agency over proposed charging scheme | European Manufacturers call for Health & Safety reforms | EEF attends FCO trade briefing on Iran | Employers encouraged to sign up to inspiring careers website | In the media | Week in review | The week ahead | Blogs from this week

EEF meets with new Business Secretary

This week EEF was one of the first business organisations to meet with the new Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid MP. This was an important early opportunity to discuss a number of important issues with the new Business Secretary, including industrial strategy and cross-departmental collaboration, apprenticeships, exports, EU reform and the forthcoming spending review. Separately and in advance, we briefed the Secretary of State’s Special Adviser, Nick King, on manufacturers’ priorities and ways we can work together to support industry. We will continue to regularly engage with the Secretary of State and BIS officials in the coming weeks in the run-up to the Budget on 8 July.

For more information contact Rocky Lorusso, Head of Government Affairs

Briefing the new Trade and Investment Minister

EEF held an introductory meeting with the new Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Rt Hon Francis Maude. Exporting is vital for UK manufacturers, helping to grow the size of firms’ potential market and increasing opportunities for profit, so this is a key ministerial portfolio for EEF members. A number of important issues were covered during the meeting, including the need for more tailored support for exporters, more help for first-time exporters, and the need for cross-government collaboration. We will continue to engage with the Minister and his officials on what is a crucial public policy area for our members.

For more information contact Rocky Lorusso, Head of Government Affairs

EEF challenges the Environment Agency over proposed charging scheme

EEF recently met with Harvey Bradshaw, Head of Environment and Business at the Environment Agency (EA), to outline our concerns with the Agency’s planned charges escalator for operators of EA-regulated sites deemed to be high risk. We highlighted how the plans would see some members pay hugely excessive annual permit fees. The Agency said that while the proposal has now been signed off by its board, it recognised the issues EEF raised and has since confirmed it is reconsidering its position. As Defra’s Secretary of State and Treasury must now sign off the EA’s charges scheme, EEF will be meeting with Defra this week to press them to ensure that the Agency’s plans are amended.

For more information contact Susanne Baker, Senior Climate and Environment Policy Adviser

European Manufacturers call for Health & Safety reforms

Speaking at the Health and Safety at Work on the European Scene conference in Milan this week, EEF's Head of Health and Safety Policy Terry Woolmer urged the European Commission to review and consolidate EU health and safety legislation, calling for a holistic approach and a move away from hazard-based legislation. The conference was organised by CEEMET, in partnership with Italian business organisations Federmeccanica and Assolombarda. The conference drew speakers from across the EU and presented an opportunity to highlight the real experience of manufacturing companies to EU and national government officials.

For more information contact Fergus McReynolds, Director of EU Affairs

EEF attends FCO trade briefing on Iran

The UK government’s involvement in negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme is expected to result in sanctions relief, which could open up business opportunities for UK companies. As a consequence of this dialogue, EEF attended a briefing session with representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on potential outcomes for businesses in the coming years and what any agreement may mean in practice. There are likely to be future opportunities for information sharing as talks continue, which EEF will engage with.

For more information contact Lee Hopley, Chief Economist

Employers encouraged to sign up to inspiring careers website

Employers are being urged to sign up as case studies on a new website that aims to bridge the gap between education and employment. Bizenko aims to tackle the issue of finding work-ready young employees by sharing inspiring stories from businesses with young people, boosting their commercial awareness at a time when arranging traditional work experience is increasingly difficult for schools.

Bizenko are looking for companies to share real-life experiences that Bizenko’s young subscribers can learn from. By being a case study companies can help to create the more rounded individuals they want to recruit in the future. At the same time, it is an opportunity to raise awareness of your company or brand amongst potential future employees. For more information or to request a call back, visit the Bizenko website.

In the media

The Guardian quoted EEF research in an article on the potential effects of ‘Brexit’. The Financial Times (subscription required) and The Independent also mentioned EEF in articles about business voices in the EU membership debate.

For more information contact Sophie Carroll, External Affairs Executive

Week in review

Consumer prices

CPI inflation fell to -0.1% in the year to April 2015, compared with 0% in the year to March 2015. Comparable historical data suggest that the last time the UK saw falling consumer prices was in the year to March 1960. The main driver of the change in the rate of inflation was lower transport prices, which were in part a reflection of the early timing of Easter this year.

EEF Pay Settlements

The three-month average pay settlement edged down to 2.1% in April, from 2.2% in March, where settlements had remained for three months. Monthly average pay settlements have been trending between 1.9% and 2.3% since the end of last year, a notable step down from the pay deals recorded through most of 2014. The three-month average of 2.1% marks the lowest three-month average since November 2010.

The week ahead

28 May: GDP (second estimate) and business investment

Blogs from this week

20 May 2015 - Better regulation - something old, something new, something borrowed...something blue? by Tim Thomas
20 May 2015 - Pay trends in manufacturing by Lee Hopley
19 May 2015 - Inflation? ...or should we say deflation? by Felicity Burch
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