Engineering firms and unions link up to lobby Chancellor

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ENGINEERING employers and trade unions are to join together in an unprecedented attempt to persuade the Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke, to produce a Budget for manufacturing industry this November, writes Michael Harrison.

The lobby campaign will be spearheaded by a high-level conference this autumn, organised jointly by the Engineering Employers Federation and the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union.

The speakers will include Neil Johnson, director-general of the EEF, Howard Davies, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, the AEEU president Bill Jordan, the Labour leader John Smith, and Pen Kent, assistant governor of the Bank of England. The conference, to be held in London in October, will press the case for Mr Clarke to use the first unified Budget to revitalise Britain's manufacturing base.

Mr Johnson said: 'We are determined that manufacturing should set the agenda and that this Budget must be about building manufacturing strength.'

Gavin Laird, general secretary of the AEEU, said: 'The Government and the Chancellor must play their role in developing our manufacturing base.'

In recent months the EEF has increasingly made common cause with trade unions on the need for industrial regeneration. But this will be the first time the EEF and the AEEU will have appeared on the same platform explicitly promoting the same cause.