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Friday Brief

Good morning and welcome to this week’s Friday Brief.

The MTA has been producing advice on the current Covid-19 situation as the government makes announcements -  these are stored in the news section of the website and can be downloaded as PDF’s. We have been sending out regular newsletters to inform members of these changes so keep your eye on your inboxes for these updates. The latest information on how to keep your company operating at the present time is here .

There has been significant development of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme over the last few days. The Scheme is going to fund employers to place workers, who would otherwise be at risk of redundancy, on ‘furlough’ – paying 80% of the regular wage or £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions. They will remain on the pay roll but will not be able to work, although they can undertake training.

Crucially, and this was only clarified last night, companies will be able to take workers on and off furlough (for a furlough period of no less than three weeks) allowing a flexibility to rotate workforces, to enable manufacturers to keep facilities open with reduced staff to enable social distancing.

You can read the guidance, published last night, here for the guidance to employers and here for guidance to employees. It is worth reading both carefully as they are complementary.

Likely to be of less direct relevance to most MTA members, but still an important part of the overall package, the Government has also published its plans to support the self-employed. In some ways they mirror the Job Retention Scheme, aiming to provide 80% of income up to a cap: although there are likely to be more exceptions and ‘hard cases’ with this group who are paid and taxed in more diverse ways than PAYE employees.  You can find out more here .

We would also like to highlight that our HR partner Croner are constantly monitoring the situation to give our members the most up-to-date guidance they can. They can be reached on 0844 561 8133 for specialist advice just let them know you're an MTA member and they will provide the assistance you need.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is a part of the support package aimed at enabling SMEs (turning over less than £45m) to access finance. It is based on the Enterprise Finance Guarantee and, like that scheme, is really aimed at companies that would not otherwise be able to secure commercial finance and as such will not be right for every company (or even the majority). Yesterday though, the Government did issue a clarification on the subject of overly onerous personal guarantees which had been flagged to the MTA as an issue. There are more details on this below.

A lot of MTA members are involved in the fight against Covid-19 and XYZ have a message for anyone involved in production of medical equipment. If you are involved in the production of parts for any emergency medical equipment that will help fight the virus they want to help. If you need a machine very quickly XYZ are happy to loan companies a NEW XYZ machine. They will deliver, install, train and get you running FREE OF CHARGE, get in touch with them at sales@xyzmachinetools.com for more details.

If MTA members are looking to support medical supply chains with additional equipment please get in contact with the MTA (podonnell@mta.org.uk), we have been in touch with finance providers who are keen to do their bit.

CECIMO, as the European association for Additive Manufacturing was requested by the European Commission to address its membership and query if it would be able to aid in producing equipment (for instance, valves or ventilators) that hospitals are lacking due to the COVID19 outbreak in Europe. Consequently, CECIMO has decided to expand the call for action to all AM companies, urging everybody who has the possibility to do so, to assist the needs of hospitals all over Europe.  See the story below for full details.

Oxford Economics have released an update of their UK macro-economic forecasts this week and a summary of this is in the article below along with details of how to access the slide pack.  The main impact will be on the 2nd quarter of 2020 but on the basis of previous pandemics, this is expected to be relatively short with a strong re-bound later in the year and into 2021.

The flash estimates of the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) reflect the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak with service sector indicators at or close to record low levels.  For manufacturing, the impact does not appear to be as large (so far at least - the final figures next week could be worse) but this in part because of quirk in the calculation that means that longer delivery times from suppliers is taken as an indicator of increased demand rather than supply-chain problems and is, therefore, boosting the manufacturing PMI’s.  The CBI Industrial Trends Survey also shows some weakness, although its’ use of 3-month rolling trends means that the fall in output will take another month or so to work through the data - order books are sharply lower and so better reflect the economic reality.  The latest set of reports from the Bank of England’s Agents also picks this up and is also showing that the capital goods industries are most affected by the economic downturn.  A number of Associations around Europe have carried out member surveys on the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak and we summarise these in the economic news article below – there are some interesting nuances between the countries.

In some good news, we would like to welcome Accruent as new members of the MTA. Accruent's cloud-based software manages every aspect of site spending – including asset and maintenance management. Their solutions bring engineering and maintenance teams together to increase operational efficiency by making better decisions to realise a higher ROI from your assets. A big welcome to Accruent as they join the Association.

That’s all for this week we’ll be back next Friday with another Friday Brief but look out for our regular news updates throughout next week as they’re announced.

Stay safe and look after each other, from everyone at the MTA.

Covid-19 Advice

MTA Logo

The Covid 19 Lockdown is not being lifted but it is changing. Sunday saw a statement from the Prime Minister setting out a conditional timetable for restrictions to be eased. Yesterday saw the publication of a plan which puts some flesh on those bones and, later the publication of the Guidance for employers to enable more of the workforce to return to work. 

XYZ - Let's help in the UK fight against the Coronavirus.

XYZ - Let's help in the UK fight against the Coronavirus.

If you are involved in the production of parts for any emergency medical equipment that will help fight the virus they want to help. If you need a machine very quickly XYZ  happy to loan you a NEW XYZ machine.

They will deliver, install, train and get you running FREE OF CHARGE *.

Contact them at sales@xyzmachinetools.com with your needs.

They will call you and agree the most suitable machine for your parts production and we will get it to you straight away.

CECIMO call to action to Additive Manufacturing companies to help hospitals in need

CECIMO call to action to Additive Manufacturing companies to help hospitals in need

In this moment of public health emergency caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, the healthcare sector is facing unprecedented challenges. 

In particular, the virus outbreak is causing severe shortages of critical medical equipment in hospitals or limited access to essential pieces, in particular valves or ventilators.

UK MACRO-ECONOMIC FORECAST UPDATE

UK MACRO-ECONOMIC FORECAST UPDATE

Our friends at Oxford Economics (OE) have been busy updating their forecasts and over the next few weeks this will gradually be rolled out to their clients.  Next week there will be some details of the implications for industries around the world and shortly after Easter we will have the new forecasts for the machine tool and (UK only) cutting tool markets.  This week saw a presentation on the UK economy - this included a regional outlook which we have left in the slides (see below for how to get hold of these), although these comments will focus mainly on the UK macro-economic forecast.

ECONOMIC DATA THIS WEEK

ECONOMIC DATA THIS WEEK

Flash Purchasing Managers’ Index, March 2020:  For the past few months, IHS Markit (compilers of the PMI data) have been publishing a flash indicator for the UK, Euro-zone and the USA.  We have held off on reporting these while they settled down and we could assess the relevance to the final numbers which are published on the first working day of the following month.  However, at a time when up-to-date information is vital, now seems like a good time to start noting these trends.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is a part of the support package aimed at enabling SMEs (turning over less than £45m) to access finance. It is based on the Enterprise Finance Guarantee and, like that scheme, are really aimed at companies that would not otherwise be able to secure commercial finance and as such will not be right for every company (or even the majority). Yesterday though, the Government did issue a clarification on the subject of personal guarantees.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

There has been significant development of the Coronavirus Employment Support scheme over the last few days. The Scheme is going to fund employers to place workers on ‘furlough’ – perhaps best thought of as a sort of gardening leave. The grant will cover 80% of the regular wage or £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions and this is only available in respect of workers who are furloughed. They will remain on the pay roll but will not be able to work, although they can undertake training.