Intelligence Briefing 1st October 2015

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In this issue: Weekly Focus: Successful engagement at Labour party conference | EEF’s Conservative Party Conference Programme | Steelmakers gather at UK Steel Forum | New National Minimum Wage introduced | In Parliament | In the Media | Week in review | The week ahead | Blogs from this week                                               

Weekly Focus: Successful engagement at Labour party conference

This week EEF co-hosted two successful events at the Labour party conference in Brighton. On Sunday evening we co-hosted a business reception, organised by Demos, alongside the British Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, IoD, ACCA, ICAEW and IPSE. The event was attended by around 150 guests from business, politics and the media, and a guest speech was delivered by the new Shadow Business Secretary Maria Eagle MP who talked about wanting to engage with business on policy issues in the months ahead.

On Monday, EEF co-hosted a fringe panel debate with the Fabian Society on the subject of ‘The path to prosperity: solving Britain’s productivity puzzle’. Panellists included Stephen Doughty MP, Shadow Industrial Relations Minister, Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Chief Secretary, Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, Heather Stewart, Economics Editor of The Observer, and Graham Cole, former Chairman of AgustaWestland. The event was standing room only and a number of interesting discussions around productivity were raised, including how productivity links to issues around skills, motivation, investment, industrial strategy and support for SME exports.

On Tuesday, EEF’s Chief Economist Lee Hopley spoke at an EU Commission fringe panel event alongside Lucy Anderson MEP, Jacqueline Minor from UKREP, and the CBI. The panel discussed the Commission’s focus on investment, innovation and jobs. EEF discussed the impact of these issues on manufacturing, applauded the Commission’s focus on deepening the single market and boosting trade, but also highlighted some of the obstacles to manufacturing investment.

EEF will be continuing its engagement with the new Opposition frontbench team over the coming months and will be working to ensure that manufacturing is at the top of their business agenda.

For further information please contact Rocky Lorusso, Head of Government Affairs

EEF’s Conservative Party Conference Programme

This year EEF will again be co-hosting a panel debate at the Conservative party conference. Full details are available below. If you would like to attend please contact Rocky Lorusso on or 020 7654 1575.

Enterprise Forum/EEF Fringe Panel Event - ‘Winning the global race – Delivering a strategy for British business success'

Date/time: 12.30-14.00, Tuesday 6 October
Venue: Arora Hotel, 18-24 Princess Street, Manchester M1 4LY


Rt Hon Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise
Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF
Tony Caldeira, Managing Director, Caldeira Textiles
Esther McVey, Founder, If Chloe Can and former employment minister
Andrew Cumpsty, Chairman, Enterprise Forum (Chair)

Steelmakers gather at UK Steel Forum

British steelmakers and senior executives gathered at the biennial UK Steel Forum last week to debate and share insights on the future of the industry. It was the first industry-wide event following steelmaker SSI’s announcement the previous week that it would be halting production, and followed a government announcement that it would be holding a crisis summit about the UK steel industry. UK Steel called on the government to take five key actions to demonstrate its commitment to the UK steel industry:

1. Fully implement the Energy Intensive Industry Compensation Package, ahead of April 2016. The sector is currently still paying 70% of the policy costs that the full Package aims to address
2. Bring Business Rates for capital intensive firms in line with their competitors in France and Germany. UK companies are currently paying between five and 10 times more than their EU competitors
3. Fully consider derogation requests from the sector on a realistic timetable to meet increased commitments under the Industrial Emissions Directive. Under current proposals, the cost of meeting revised permits for the sector are estimated at up to £500m by 2019
4. Continue to back EU-level action on anti-dumping measures which support the UK steel sector against the rapid rise in global imports
5. Support local content in major construction projects.

For more information contact Gareth Stace, Director of UK Steel

New National Minimum Wage introduced

From 1st October 2015, new National Minimum Wage rates will come into force. The new National Minimum Wage rates includes increasing the Adult Rate to £6.70 per hour and the Apprentice Rate to £3.30 per hour. Read more here.

In Parliament

Kirsty Williams, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, referenced EEF research on Welsh business confidence during questions to the First Minister in the National Assembly for Wales.

n the media

UK Steel’s response to SSI’s job losses announcement was widely covered in The Financial Times(£), The Times(£), The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror (link unavailable) and BBC News. UK Steel Director Gareth Stace was interviewed on BBC News, Channel 4, Sky TV, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio 2, BBC Sheffield and ITV Tyne and Tees.

The UK Steel Forum also generated coverage in The Financial Times (£) and The Daily Mail, and Gareth Stace was interviewed on Sky News.

EEF’s response to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s conference speech featured in The Mirror, and our response to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell's speech in The Daily Telegraph.

The Financial Times (£) featured EEF’s response to the latest GDP figures. The Times (link unavailable) reported on the findings of a report on waste in the UK electricity, which was co-published by EEF and other organisations.

For more information contact Sophie Carroll, External Affairs Executive

Week in review

Quarterly national accounts

UK GDP was estimated to have increased by 0.7% between Q1 and Q2 2015, unrevised from the previous estimate. However, manufacturing output growth was revised down and is now estimated to have fallen 0.5% in Q2 following a 0.1% drop in output in Q1.

Manufacturing PMI

The manufacturing PMI came in at 51.5 in September, down slightly from a revised figure of 51.6 the month before. The PMI has now been above the 50.0 ‘no change’ mark for 30 months.

The week ahead

7th October: Index of production

Blogs from this week

28 Sep 2015
A Monday morning look ahead at the data and events relating to UK manufacturing by Zach Witton

29 Sep 2015
Pace of devolution in England leaving businesses behind by Chris Richards

30 Sep 2015
A disappointing first half of 2015 for manufacturing by Zach Witton

01 Oct 2015
National Living Wage: maintaining pay differentials gives manufacturers a bit of the jitters by Verity O’Keefe

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