EEF

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Manufacturers stalked by Brexit fears as clock enters final countdown 09/01/2019

The spectre of Brexit is looming large as a source of business risk for manufacturers in 2019 which, together with a cocktail of protectionism and looming global slowdown is producing a more pessimistic outlook for growth prospects in the coming year according to a major survey released by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and the global insurer AIG.

The EEF/AIG Annual Senior Executive Survey shows that while companies still expect to see growth in domestic and export orders, as well as employment, in the coming year, they are much less confident than a year ago, especially about prospects for the UK economy.

Aside from Brexit and trade related matters, the survey also shows that cyber security continues to rise up the business agenda with the number of companies citing disruption from cyber attacks as the most significant risk to their business doubling in the last year.

Commenting, EEF Chief Executive, Stephen Phipson, said: “While companies are naturally optimistic by their very nature, the spectre of Brexit is now very front of mind for manufacturers. This is bringing with it a whole host of risks from increased exchange rate volatility to rising input costs which right now are very difficult to plan for.

“Business is crying out for some certainty and clarity on moving to a transition period and will have watched the pre-Christmas pantomime in Parliament with dismay. This situation cannot continue.

“The Prime Minister’s deal is the right one and it is to be hoped that MPs will return to Parliament this week with the very clear message from businesses that they must back it so we can move forward with negotiations on our future relationship with the EU. No deal is simply not an option for UK manufacturers.”

Commenting, Simon Gallimore Manufacturing Industry Group Lead of AIG, said: “It’s promising to see that UK manufacturers remain optimistic about the prospects for the global economy, despite the challenges of Brexit and other trade tensions expected in 2019, and the potential for a squeeze on cash flow. Strong credit-management bolstered with trade credit insurance can provide some protection for manufacturers’ revenues, whilst supporting their efforts to expand successfully into new markets.

“Aside from the increasing fears related to the uncertain economic environment in the UK, this year’s survey shows that disruption from cyber attacks remains the most significant risk faced by manufacturers. As technology and data continue to play increasingly critical roles in the industry, companies will inevitably find themselves more vulnerable to cyber breaches, which can cause severe disruption to the supply chain.

“Manufacturing is key to the UK’s performance on the world stage, and plays an important part in improving the health of the economy. Minimising disruption to the industry and protecting revenues will be of paramount importance in the coming year. Insurance is one way to help provide reassurance for businesses.”

 

According to the survey, overall companies are still positive about the prospects for the global economy but the number who take this view is down sharply from last year with half seeing more risks than opportunity compared to a quarter who see more opportunities. However in contrast to last year there is a marked polarisation between those who expect global conditions to improve significantly and those expecting it to deteriorate significantly.

Given the UK departure from the EU Brexit and, the consequences surrounding it, almost three quarters of manufacturers (72%) say it is their biggest source of uncertainty. Within this over four fifths of companies (81%) identified exchange rate volatility as a risk to their business plan with only one fifth of companies saying significant currency movement was not a risk in 2019.

Furthermore, the impact of a weaker sterling bringing upward pressure on input costs was also seen as a risk by three quarters of companies. This counters the oft quoted assertion that a weaker sterling would be of universal benefit to manufacturing. (A previous EEF survey backed this up with only 6% of companies saying a weaker sterling would be of benefit).

The survey also shows that delays at customs was a risk for almost four fifths of companies (76%), highlighting the critical need to pursue a Brexit that brings frictionless trade. For 1 in 3 companies delays at customs was seen to be their most significant risk. Furthermore, almost half of companies saw a relocation of a major customer away from the UK as a source of risk, one third of these directly related to Brexit.

Actions to mitigate the direct impact of Brexit include an evaluation of suppliers inside and outside the UK (68% and 63%) respectively and stockpiling components/raw materials. Over six in ten companies are looking to stockpile (62%) with 29% already doing so and a further 33% planning to do so in 2019.

Brexit is not the only risk to company business plans, however, with almost two thirds of companies (63%) seeing disruption from cyber attacks as a risk, closely followed by increased trade protectionism (59%). Furthermore, whilst it was seen as the least source of risk, almost half of companies saw a relocation of a major customer away from the UK as the main source of risk, one third of these directly related to Brexit.

The surveys shows that companies are taking a range of options to mitigate the risks they may face to their business plans. The extent of the threat from cyber attacks is highlighted by the fact it is top of the list for companies taking action with 60% of companies already increasing protection with a further 26% planning to do so.

The survey covered 242 companies and was carried out from 1 to 21 November.

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EEF Annual Conference: Speakers announced 11/12/2018

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, has announced that the next National Manufacturing Conference will take place in London on 19th February 2019.

The annual event – sponsored by UK insurer AIG, software company infer, and The Manufacturer – will bring together politicians, senior industrialists and manufacturing leaders.

With a Brexit just months away, this year’s conference 'Facing The Future Together – preparing for Brexit and a changing world' will look at the post-Brexit landscape and what companies can do to future-proof their business in an ever-changing environment.

A number of high-profile speakers have been lined up, including journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil, the Leader of the Opposition, the Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP and Greg Clarke, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

By popular demand the conference will be chaired again by broadcaster Steph McGovern, herself a former engineer. 

Key themes for this year’s discussions include a digital workshop with Caraline Robinson (CORR), Managing Director, Husqvarna UK and Steve Spall, CEO of Tails.com, alongside a leadership workshop with Valerie Todd, HR Director, Siemens UK and Ireland.

Looking to the future, 'Generation Z' workshop will look at how to solve the problem of attracting young people into the manufacturing industry through an interactive Dragon’s Den style session where apprentices, graduates and school leavers will tell industry leaders what would attract them into the sector. Speakers in the workshop include Peter Tack, Managing Director of Lander Automotive, a company which boasts 50% of its workforce under the age of 30. 

The conference will be followed in the evening by EEF’s annual Manufacturing Dinner.

Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, says: “With Brexit just months away, our conference comes at a critical time for industry, which has a key role to play in ensuring that post-Brexit Britain is a great success. 

“This conference provides an important collaborative platform for industry and Government to work together – and it is that collaboration on what the post-Brexit environment will look like which is essential for the future success of manufacturing and industry as a whole to ensure we protect the 2.5 million jobs our sector provides across the UK. 

“Going forward, it is vital we ensure that trade remains frictionless between the UK and our biggest trading partner the EU, while looking to grasp new opportunities which free trade agreements so we achieve post-EU economic and global trading success.”

Simon Gallimore, manufacturing industry UK lead for AIG says: “We are once again proud to be a sponsor of EEF’s National Manufacturing Conference – bringing together Britain’s most influential manufacturing and engineering companies. 

“We continue to recognise how important the manufacturing sector is for the wider UK economy, and we are dedicated to using our expertise in areas such as cyber and trade credit insurance to help businesses address the increasing risks they are facing, in today’s challenging economic environment and into the future. 

“We look forward to welcoming manufacturers, industry leaders and Britain’s most influential politicians to the event as we come together to tackle the challenges that lie ahead and grasp the opportunities that come with those challenges.”

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Upskilling essential according to new research 19/11/2018

Manufacturers will have to raise their game to use their shrinking workforce better and smarter to cope in an ever-changing world of automated technologies, according to new research by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation.

Initiating a proper workforce plan – which analyses employees’ skills and where they can be used to best effect – ensures the best use of available human capital. This will become ever more important in the face of increased restrictions on EU workers post-Brexit, according to EEF’s latest report: Reinventing the Manufacturing Workforce. A properly thought out workforce plan also helps identify those employees who will benefit most from the opportunity to retrain and up-skill in the latest digital technologies.

However only 32% of manufacturers surveyed had a workforce plan (a plan with measurable actions that align the changing needs of the business with their people strategy) in place; almost two-thirds (64%) did not. 

The report reveals that 69% of those surveyed said that the adoption of new technologies and techniques is driving the priorities of their workforce plan, while nearly half (44%) said that the introduction of new products is the main driver for change in workforce practices.

To prepare to secure the skills they need for the future a heartening 72% of businesses revealed that they are introducing or continuing to run formal apprenticeships, while half (48%) are revising their recruitment strategy to recruit workers from other industries and sectors with transferable skills.

Others are introducing or continuing with popular graduate programmes to grab the best potential talent while just over a quarter (26%) are revising their workforce plan.

Flexible ways of working have already been adopted by all but 15% of manufacturers to non-production employees and 7% to their production employees, which has helped to retain existing employees (74%) and also attract prospective employees (56%).

Tim Thomas, director of Employment and Skills at EEF, says: “Manufacturers are facing both a turbulent but also revolutionary time. Brexit is now on the horizon, bringing with it challenges around access to people. Planning for these changes is vital, yet only a relatively small number of manufacturers have a workforce plan in place.

“Planning is crucial not just to prepare for these challenges but also to take advantage of future opportunities. Technological change has the potential to radically change the workplace in ways never before seen. People will be at the heart of this, adapting not only to new ways of working, but also to new work, requiring a step change in the way employers train their workforce and deploy their skills.

“Manufacturers have over time proved themselves to be adaptable, innovative and resilient. They have the tools and talent to make to make a success of the rapidly changing work they face, but they need government’s backing in creating the right business environment and developing policies within which they can thrive.

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EEF calls for Brexit transition extension 29/10/2018

Failure to agree terms with WTO means UK needs more time to prepare for EU withdrawal, says the manufacturer’s organisation. Its CEO has called the Government's hope of the easy 'cut and paste' of existing deals as "naive".

Stephen Phipson CBE, chief executive of EEF, said an extension to the implementation or transition period was vital. International trade negotiations often take over 5 years and we are only at the beginning of this process.

"The Government has failed to prepare adequately for the time and complexity required to reach agreement with the WTO. While talks continue industry urgently needs clarity and stability. That means a significantly longer transition period following our exit from the EU.

"This will ensure UK manufacturing can continue to operate under the EU’s existing protections while the Government takes the time it needs to secure advantageous new trading deals with other countries.

"As we have consistently said, successful international trade deals take years to negotiate. The Government’s hope that agreeing a tariff schedule with the WTO would be simple was naïve. At a time of rising protectionism and the return of barriers to trade it is no great surprise that other countries have refused to accept our ‘cut and paste’ short-cut.

“Many of our members have been planning on the back of repeated assurances that membership of the WTO and new trading deals with other countries would be struck quickly and easily. Now the Government must recognise that this strategy has failed and it must allow industry sufficient time to prepare for an uncertain global trading relationship. We must not give up all the benefits of the EU.”

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UK urged to back EU safety rules post Brexit 22/10/2018

Britain's manufacturers are calling for the current health and safety landscape to be maintained when the UK leaves the European Union, with existing worker production and legislative requirements continuing to be transferred into UK law to avoid cost and disruption to business.

The call is made in a wide-ranging report into the UK’s health and safety landscape published by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and leading health and safety manufacturer Arco, which is entitled ‘Making Health & Safety work for UK Business – manufacturers’ concerns in a post Brexit World’. The survey of 144 companies was conducted in Spring 2018.

In particular, the report says it is vital that the British Standards Institution (BSI) continues to play a leading role in European standards setting so that UK companies can continue to make products set within the European standards environment. This is essential to ensure UK companies can continue to trade without the risk of technical barriers emerging and to avoid the unnecessary development of multiple standards.

Head of health and safety policy at EEF Terry Woolmer said: “There is a clear message from manufacturers that there should be no rapid change post Brexit to the UK’s health & safety regulatory regime. The Government’s current approach of grandfathering existing EU worker protection and product safety standards into UK law for the foreseeable future is the right one.

“This is essential to avoid costly disruption, the emergence of any technical barriers and the development of unnecessary multiple standards which might damage the prospects of some companies being able to operate seamlessly when the UK leaves the EU. It is also vital that BSI continues to play a leading role in setting the European standards environment, a position where the UK has substantial expertise.

Arco head of heavy manufacturing Lee Pickering added: “This report clearly identifies the concerns and beliefs of leaders within the sector, giving policymakers a vital insight into how manufacturing bosses believe Brexit should be rolled out. We agree that that a rapid change in regulation post Brexit isn’t the correct approach as it would cause disruption but we also believe Brexit affords us an opportunity to review and improve health & safety regulations within the UK.

“What we don’t want to see happen once we leave the EU is the Government using Brexit as a justification for complacency as there are issues within our current framework that urgently need addressing if we are to ensure the safety of UK workers.”

According to the survey 42 percent of companies want no change to the current regulatory regime, whilst a further 55 percent want no immediate change, but would like a review of health and safety regulations once the UK has left the EU. This might include more recent directives which are not risk based and where the level of health and safety benefits are more questionable. Just 3 percent of companies wanted to revert to the pre-EU Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

A desire for a review of the existing landscape was significantly more pronounced amongst medium and larger companies (66.7% and 55.2% respectively) that may have the resources to deal with any change and see Brexit as an opportunity to simplify the system, whilst smaller companies might prefer to deal with an existing scenario rather than face any disruption.

As well as examining the European health and safety environment, the report takes a wide-ranging look at the UK domestic environment for health & safety which has seen significant regulatory change.

This includes the first impact of the changes to Health & Safety fines introduced in 2016. In the manufacturing sector, fines doubled between 2015/16 to 2016/17 from £12.5m to £25.1m, resulting in an average fine of just under £160k. Despite this large increase, two fifths of companies have taken no action to review their procedures whilst a third of companies had not seen any increase in involvement of senior management in health & safety since 2012, bucking a long term trend of improvement.

According to EEF, the fact that substantial changes in sentencing guidelines and increased fines have not altered company behaviour shows that they are not changing management culture towards health and safety and are merely a blunt tool revenue raising exercise for HM Treasury.

In response, EEF believes that the revenue raised from fines should be ring-fenced and used more proactively to promote health & safety, whilst courts should have stronger powers to issue remedial orders with the aim of bringing about lasting improvements to health & safety management systems and practices.

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Brexit puts brakes on manufacturing investment 02/10/2018

Britain’s manufacturers have sharply applied the brakes to their investment plans in response to growing political uncertainty at home and rising fears of the impact of global trade tensions, according to a major survey by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and Santander.

The annual EEF/Santander Investment Monitor shows that in the last two years the proportion of turnover investment by manufacturers increased on the back of a robust growth picture in the world economy. 

Looking forward, however, the picture is somewhat different with just over a third (34%) of companies planning to increase their investment in plant and machinery, the lowest figure in the survey’s five year history. This sentiment is especially pronounced for small companies where three quarters of companies are refraining from increasing their investment in the coming two years.

As a reason for not investing, just under a third of companies (30%) are citing political uncertainty as a reason (up from 17% last year) whilst order book uncertainty has risen significantly over the last year (23% to 36%) in response to the cocktail of domestic and international forces. In particular, almost a fifth of companies (17%) are holding off their investments due to a lack of clarity on Brexit.

According to EEF, the brakes on investment will have significant impact on attempts to improve the UK’s productivity performance because the opportunity costs of this lost investment are significant. This will likely widen the UK’s capital gap even further with our competitors who are nor spending their time dealing with the political and economic complexities of leaving the EU.

The survey reveals which aspects of companies’ investment plans have been most susceptible to Brexit-related uncertainty – just over half of companies (51% said investment in plant and machinery had been put on hold because of Brexit negotiations and over a third (36%) have shelved plans to invest in new and improved buildings. Other areas of investment are not immune with a significant proportion of R&D programmes and IT systems on hold.

These plans will be to the detriment of efforts to get the UK’s flat lining productivity performance back on its pre-crisis trend.  In addition to manufacturers recognising that, on balance, investment has barely been sufficient to avoid more recruitment to meet capacity requirements, the survey also shows that investment challenges go further than political uncertainty. For example, hurdles to new technology adoption are especially pronounced amongst smaller companies who feel they have not been investing enough to keep at the forefront of technological change.

This has important implications for the fourth industrial revolution given almost 40% of companies with a hundred or fewer employees said they would have prioritised investment in plant and machinery, a key factor in being at the forefront of technological change.

Commenting, EEF Chief Economist, Ms Lee Hopley, said: “Our latest Investment Monitor puts into sharp focus the widening gap between the investment manufacturers know they need to make to capitalise on growth opportunities and to adopt productivity enhancing technologies and the hurdles they face in getting those decisions over the line. The upcoming Budget needs to take some bold steps to support companies in addressing this shortfall until the clouds of uncertainty start to lift.”

The survey covered 232 companies form 1-23 August

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One in six manufacturers say business will become untenable with a no-deal Brexit 25/09/2018

New research published today by EEF, The Manufacturers’ Organisation, shows that one is six manufacturers business decision makers say business would become untenable for them if the UK reverted to WTO tariffs, increased border checks on people and increased checks on goods at the border.

A quarter say that as a result of Brexit they have experienced, or are expecting to experience, losing out on investment (23%), losing skilled EU workers (24%) and losing a new contract (27%). While a similar number expect to change their growth plans as a result of Brexit.

Moreover, 30% of businesses say that they are finding or expect to find it more difficult to recruit workers with the necessary skills.

The EEF-commissioned ComRes survey of 500 manufacturing business decision makers finds with just 6 months to go until Britain leaves the EU, four in five (83%) say that they are currently not prepared for a no-deal Brexit. Two in five companies (43%) say they are not prepared and will not be preparing for what would happen if the Government fails to strike an agreement.

Respondents were uncertain about where future opportunities lie, with 24% not clear what their biggest post-Brexit opportunity will be, but there was a definite appetite to take advantage of new trade possibilities.

The survey showed that businesses see America as the top priority for a new trade deal after Brexit (52%) while two in five businesses (41%) are already exploring, or expect to explore, new markets outside the EU.

Manufacturers are however clear on their priorities for the Brexit negotiations, as trade with the EU seen as critical. Some 58% of business leaders highlighted the need to retain no tariff trade with the EU, and half (50%) emphasised the importance of retaining full access to the single market. Respondents also recognised the need for new trade deals outside the EU, with 68% referencing this as a priority. There is also clear concern about investment, with over a fifth of respondents (21%) having either lost or expecting to lose out on investment because of Brexit.

Remaining in the Customs Union was seen as important for 71% of those businesses surveyed.

In parallel, ComRes ran focus groups of EEF members in three locations around the UK to further drill down into the thinking behind the answers business leaders gave in the wider survey. Clarity, even if the result was not conducive to business such as a no-deal Brexit, was preferable to the current uncertainty. There was further concern that investor have already started to look elsewhere and there was a worry that business opportunities in the EU would be restricted.

However, while companies saw turbulence in the short term, in the longer term manufacturing businesses are optimistic that business affairs will settle naturally as the UK and EU reach a stable agreement.

EEF commissioned today’s research in response to ongoing calls from EEF members for greater clarity on the implications of Brexit on their day-to-day operations. The manufacturing industry accounts for 10% of the UK’s economic output and over 2.5 million jobs.

As well as the new research, EEF also published its own Brexit Audit of the Government’s White Paper. This highlighted four key outcomes which Industry needs to see from the final negotiations to make Brexit work and amounts to an endorsement of the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan. These include:

  • A properly planned, open ended implementation period for leaving the EU, likely to take many/several years, and open-ended to allow trade negotiations sufficient time to conclude and the outcome to be implemented without artificial constraints
  • Frictionless trade by ensuring no tariffs on the import of goods and ensuring British companies can continue to operate ‘just in time delivery’ logistics as part of an integrated supply chain
  • An ability for workers to move into and out of the UK, ensuring British companies can fill vacancies where they have skills gaps and send workers overseas to meet the requirements of service contracts and other commercial opportunities
  • A commitment for Britain to maintain mutually recognised, close regulatory alignment with the EU, supported by a common system of arbitration and standard setting, ensuring that British firms can produce goods that can be easily traded across Europe with clear protections in place.

Commenting, Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive at EEF, said: “Today’s research reinforces the need for manufacturers to get a deal to ensure they deliver for the UK economy. They also desperately require clarity to be able to prepare. It is absolutely crucial that an industry that accounts for 10% of the UK’s economic output and almost half of the country’s exports, prepares for exit day and all its possible implications. But currently over 80% have no plans to prepare for a scenario such as no-deal.

“Industry is one of the jewels in the crown for the UK economy and can continue to be post-Brexit. It must however be given the opportunity to adapt and build in robust Brexit preparations. The Chequers deal is a pragmatic and realistic solution which offers a practical way forward. It is now essential that the Prime Minister is given the backing to deliver on it."

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Survey highlights concerns over no-deal Brexit 21/09/2018

New research published by EEF, The Manufacturers’ Organisation, shows that one is six manufacturers business decision makers say business would become untenable for them if the UK reverted to WTO tariffs, increased border checks on people and increased checks on goods at the border.

A quarter say that as a result of Brexit they have experienced, or are expecting to experience, losing out on investment (23%), losing skilled EU workers (24%) and losing a new contract (27%). While a similar number expect to change their growth plans as a result of Brexit.

Moreover, 30% of businesses say that they are finding or expect to find it more difficult to recruit workers with the necessary skills.

The EEF-commissioned ComRes survey of 500 manufacturing business decision makers finds with just 6 months to go until Britain leaves the EU, four in five (83%) say that they are currently not prepared for a no-deal Brexit. Two in five companies (43%) say they are not prepared and will not be preparing for what would happen if the Government fails to strike an agreement.

Respondents were uncertain about where future opportunities lie, with 24% not clear what their biggest post-Brexit opportunity will be, but there was a definite appetite to take advantage of new trade possibilities.

The survey showed that businesses see America as the top priority for a new trade deal after Brexit (52%) while two in five businesses (41%) are already exploring, or expect to explore, new markets outside the EU.

Manufacturers are however clear on their priorities for the Brexit negotiations, as trade with the EU seen as critical. Some 58% of business leaders highlighted the need to retain no tariff trade with the EU, and half (50%) emphasised the importance of retaining full access to the single market.  Respondents also recognised the need for new trade deals outside the EU, with 68% referencing this as a priority. There is also clear concern about investment, with over a fifth of respondents (21%) having either lost or expecting to lose out on investment because of Brexit.

Remaining in the Customs Union was seen as important for 71% of those businesses surveyed.

In parallel, ComRes ran focus groups of EEF members in three locations around the UK to further drill down into the thinking behind the answers business leaders gave in the wider survey. Clarity, even if the result was not conducive to business such as a no-deal Brexit, was preferable to the current uncertainty. There was further concern that investor have already started to look elsewhere and there was a worry that business opportunities in the EU would be restricted.

However, while companies saw turbulence in the short term, in the longer term manufacturing businesses are optimistic that business affairs will settle naturally as the UK and EU reach a stable agreement.

EEF commissioned the research in response to ongoing calls from EEF members for greater clarity on the implications of Brexit on their day-to-day operations. The manufacturing industry accounts for 10% of the UK’s economic output and over 2.5 million jobs.

As well as the new research, EEF also published its own Brexit Audit of the Government’s White Paper. This highlighted four key outcomes which Industry needs to see from the final negotiations to make Brexit work and amounts to an endorsement of the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan. These include:

  • A properly planned, open ended implementation period for leaving the EU, likely to take many/several years, and open-ended to allow trade negotiations sufficient time to conclude and the outcome to be implemented without artificial constraints
  • Frictionless trade by ensuring no tariffs on the import of goods and ensuring British companies can continue to operate ‘just in time delivery’ logistics as part of an integrated supply chain
  • An ability for workers to move into and out of the UK, ensuring British companies can fill vacancies where they have skills gaps and send workers overseas to meet the requirements of service contracts and other commercial opportunities
  • A commitment for Britain to maintain mutually recognised, close regulatory alignment with the EU, supported by a common system of arbitration and standard setting, ensuring that British firms can produce goods that can be easily traded across Europe with clear protections in place

Commenting, Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive at EEF, said: “This research reinforces the need for manufacturers to get a deal to ensure they deliver for the UK economy. They also desperately require clarity to be able to prepare. It is absolutely crucial that an industry that accounts for 10% of the UK’s economic output and almost half of the country’s exports, prepares for exit day and all its possible implications. But currently over 80% have no plans to prepare for a scenario such as no-deal. 

“Industry is one of the jewels in the crown for the UK economy and can continue to be post-Brexit. It must however be given the opportunity to adapt and build in robust Brexit preparations. The Chequers deal is a pragmatic and realistic solution which offers a practical way forward. It is now essential that the Prime Minister is given the backing to deliver on it.”

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Game-based learning tool to promote health & safety 20/09/2018

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, launched a new game-based learning tool at the recent IOSH conference. It will provide employers and employees with an interactive tool to promote Health & Safety in the workplace.

The PC and tablet-based tool is an audio-visual experience which can be custom-branded and also tailor-made to replicate an exact workplace. In the game, learners are rewarded for speed and accuracy of decision-making as they manage health & safety risks within a simulated work environment. It will also allow individuals and departments to compete against each other to have the best risk assessment and health & safety awareness.

The game provides employers with insight into areas where further knowledge is required and potential hot spots in the business with the ability to track improvements inn knowledge and awareness. As a result they can track the likeliness and severity of risk and take preventative action.

The tool has been used by Fujitsu as part of its international training programme and Simon Head, head of health and safety, EMEIA and Americas, Fujitsu said: “This tool has been the lynchpin of our international training programme. Uptake has far exceeded any other e-based training tools, people are talking and behaviour is changing.”

Find out more and play the demonstration game at http://www.eef.org.uk/hsgame

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EEF welcomes VAT deferral for importers 28/08/2018

As the Government published the first raft of technical notices on Brexit, Stephen Phipson, chief executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, welcomed the decision to allow importers to defer VAT payments.

He said: “This is  is very gratefully received and is something EEF has been campaigning hard for with Government in order to protect the 145,000 businesses in the UK which are above the VAT threshold.

“EEF welcomes the increased clarity for businesses following the publication. However, the remaining notices need to be published at the utmost speed so companies have the full picture to enable them to prepare properly for a no-deal scenario.

“We also welcome the commitment to create UK replacements for the regulatory bodies we will leave next March if we fail to reach a deal with the EU. However, we would like Government to make firm commitments to ensure these bodies can swiftly recruit the skilled people they need to deliver a seamless regulatory environment in the event of a no deal exit. However, we remain confident that Government will secure a deal with the EU and will continue to work with ministers to help secure this.”

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