Disagree to agree says EEF

Posted on 7 May 2010 by The Manufacturer

EEF has urged all political parties to come to agreement as a matter of urgency to remove political uncertainty and reassure markets and business.

This has become increasingly critical, the manufacturers’ organisation says, given the growing turmoil in financial markets over public sector deficits. As a matter of urgency the new government, of whatever combination, must act immediately on the following priorities:

• Set out a clear and credible plan for how it will tackle the deficit
• Give a clear assurance that tax reform will be a priority to help speed up the rebalancing of the economy and promoting investment
• Introduce an energy bill outlining market reforms and a clear commitment to nuclear power

Commenting, EEF chief executive, Terry Scuoler, said: “The clock is now ticking on action to get our economy going again and tackle the crisis in our public finances. Manufacturers will fear that a political impasse and a failure by all parties to come together will stall this and risk damaging our economy.

“We need to see political maturity and courage to face up to the tough decisions which are necessary. Business and the markets will be looking for immediate and decisive action. This must include a clear plan for how and when we will reduce the public deficit and the modernisation of our tax system to rebalance the economy and promote investment.”

Looking to the medium term, EEF believes the following should also be policy priorities:

Enhance our labour market flexibility. Priorities include maintaining a default retirement age and retaining the individual opt-out from the Working Time Directive.
Tackle long-standing weaknesses in our skills system. Resources for STEM subjects should be prioritised and the complex skills landscape must be simplified to deliver a demand-led approach.
Address urgent energy and waste infrastructure needs. Government must keep planning independent and take a balanced approach to energy supply and storage.
Invest in innovation. Create one source of finance to support ambitious, growing companies and enable businesses to collaborate with universities.
Deliver valuable business support schemes. Prioritise funding for programmes that deliver the greatest benefits.