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Liz Lynne discusses EU impact on industrial policy with UK manufacturers

November 10, 2010 1:20 PM

West Midlands Lib Dem MEP Liz Lynne discussed the EU's likely impact on industry with a delegation of UK manufacturers at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Liz Lynne MEP, who is vice chair of the European Parliament's Manufacturing Group and First Vice President of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, was one of four senior MEPs to meet business leaders from the UK Manufacturers Organisation EEF.

The EEF delegation included Peter Mitchell, Managing Director of Somers Forge Ltd from Halesowen and Robert Duxbury, Technical Director from Wedge Group Galvanising Ltd based in Willenhall.

Liz Lynne said: "I was pleased to talk with such a wide-ranging group of manufacturers who are leading the battle for us to build a sustained economic recovery.

"I strongly support measures for 'light touch' regulations to ensure a level playing field and a fair deal for workers across the single market, without unnecessary and pointless red tape."

Liz updated business leaders on issues including the Pregnant Workers Directive, where she strongly opposed the recent vote by the European Parliament to extend maternity leave to 20 weeks on full pay.

Liz said: "I don't need to tell you how much of a disaster this would be, I have worked closely with the coalition minister Ed Davey on this issue and I know he is resolute, as am I, that this plan will not become a reality. I hope it can be stopped in the Council of Ministers."

Liz also discussed the Working Time Directive, on which a second consultation is due to begin soon, and assured the meeting that she continued to support Britain's opt out of the Directive.

The meeting also looked at the Electro Magnetic Fields directive, which has been postponed from implementation due to concerns raised by Liz Lynne and others over the effect the rules would have on technology such as MRI scanners in hospitals and also on manufacturers using the technology.

Liz added: "I campaigned for a review of the original directive which would not only affect MRI scanners but would also be extremely damaging for many businesses in the manufacturing sector.

"We are now expecting a new proposal in November from the Commission, who have promised to take on board many of the concerns. I broadly welcome the findings in the second Commission consultation paper, but it is plain there is still work to do to come up with workable legislation.

"There is no point having health and safety rules which are not grounded in the best possible science or are completely impractical."