Intelligence Briefing 4th February 2016

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In this issue: EEF members discuss key issues with Deputy Labour Leader | Meeting with BIS adviser | EEF hosts roundtable discussion with Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP | Westminster Hall Debate: Role of Manufacturing in development of Onshore Oil & Gas | EEF submits evidence to Commons inquiry on business rates devolution | In the media | Week in Review | The week ahead | Blogs from this week

EEF members discuss key issues with Deputy Labour Leader

This week EEF took a small delegation of members to meet with Tom Watson MP, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Ahead of Mr Watson’s forthcoming keynote speech at the National Manufacturing Conference, this meeting provided an opportunity for senior industry leaders to brief him on important issues for their businesses. A range of key topics were discussed including the need for better access to skills, business taxation issues including the forthcoming apprenticeship levy, and the UK’s future in the EU. EEF will continue to brief key members of the Opposition to ensure they are aware of the issues of most importance to our members.

For more information contact Rocky Lorusso, Head of Government Affairs

Meeting with BIS adviser

Ahead of the Budget Statement on 16 March, EEF met with Nick King, Special Adviser to the Business Secretary Sajid Javid MP, to brief him on our top priorities ahead of the statement. We discussed important issues for our members including possible changes to employer tax relief on pension contributions, the government’s forthcoming business tax roadmap, manufacturers’ views on digital infrastructure and the future prospects for industry 4.0. EEF will be publishing its key asks for the Budget soon, and we will be briefing other senior ministers and officials in the next few weeks ahead of the Budget. Sajid Javid will also be delivering a keynote speech at the National Manufacturing Conference.

For more information contact Rocky Lorusso, Head of Government Affairs

EEF hosts roundtable discussion with Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP

EEF hosted a roundtable dinner for members to discuss policy issues with the Leader of the Labour campaign to stay in the European Union Alan Johnson MP. Mr Johnson briefed members on the Labour Party’s priorities for the upcoming campaign, and also heard members’ views on Europe and how they thought their businesses might be affected if Britain withdrew from the EU.

For more information contact Celia Charlwood, Government Affairs Adviser

Westminster Hall Debate: Role of Manufacturing in development of Onshore Oil & Gas

MPs last week hosted a well-attended Westminster Hall debate on the potential benefits to the UK’s manufacturing sector of developing a UK onshore oil and gas industry. Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk & Melton, who called the debate, framed the discussions noting that an onshore industry has the potential to replicate the manufacturing supply chain that developed following the growth of North Sea production. Indeed, it is estimated that a new onshore industry could support 64,000 jobs and £33 billion of domestic investment. EEF’s 2014 report, UK shale gas: the manufacturers' view, was mentioned several times by speakers during the debate.

For more information contact Richard Warren, Senior Energy and Environment Policy Adviser

EEF submits evidence to Commons inquiry on business rates devolution

The Government recently announced its intention to devolve various aspects of the business rates system to local areas in England. EEF expressed concern that the changes may give rise to a more unstable system for businesses.

In our evidence to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry this week, we highlighted that there were several unanswered questions as part of the government’s proposals which risk undermining the pursuit of growth and pushing local authorities to pursue short term revenue maximisation at the expense of long term budget sustainability.

Our recommendations for change include:

  • The introduction of a decelerator to smooth possible increases in the local authority multiplier
  • Uprating the national multiplier by CPI in the future up to a 2% cap
  • The removal of plant and machinery from the calculation of rateable values to give local authorities long-term certainty over their budgets
  • Retaining the ability, by request, for a retroactive business vote before a Mayoral supplementary business rates levy is applied

For more information contact Chris Richards, Senior Business Environment Policy Adviser

In the media

Our media coverage has spanned a wide range of areas this week. We commented in the FT on the CBI’s proposals for targets for women on Boards, while UK Steel’s response to the EU imposition of tariffs on Chinese steel was reported in the FT, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail. The start of February marked the latest PMI with our response covered in the FT, Daily Telegraph and Times (subscription required) while our comments on the Prime Minister’s re-negotiation deal were also reported in The Times (subscription required). Chief Executive, Terry Scuoler, took part in a debate on the EU deal on the BBC’s World Service.

For more information contact Mark Swift, Head of News

Week in review

Manufacturing PMI

The UK manufacturing PMI rose to 52.9 in January, up slightly from 52.1 in December. While the PMI showed improved inflows of new work from the domestic market, new export orders fell into decline.

The week ahead

9th Feb: UK Trade
10th Feb: Index of production

Blogs from this week

01 Feb 2016
5 things manufacturers like about the Government’s Devolution Act by Chris Richards

02 Feb 2016
How technology is increasing productivity in UK manufacturing by Vice President of Solution Consulting for Europe, Infor

02 Feb 2016
A never ending cycle: can a circular economy truly deliver? by Claire Jakobsson

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