News in brief

EEF shares opinion

The Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) has given its backing to employee share ownership. In response to Treasury consultation, it said save-as-you-earn schemes should be made more flexible and given tax relief. In the long term, the EEFbelieves purchased shares should be transferable into an individual savings account.

Breathing easier

New figures from the Health & Safety Executive show an improvement in levels of exposure in industry to breathable silica, which causes the deadly lung disease silicosis and possibly cancer. Exposure to respirable crystalline silica has improved in industries like foundries and ceramics, but is still high in construction, the figures show.

Airbus deal sealed

Singapore Airlines has confirmed orders for up to 10 Airbus A340-500 long-range airliners, plus five options. Deliveries will start in the fourth quarter of 2002, with arrival of all the first five by mid-2003. Airbus wing builder and 20% stakeholder BAe could make £186m from the £930m deal. Rolls-Royce may stands to earn up to £246m supplying Trent engines.

Racal’s Indian win

Racal Communications has won a £5m contract to supply a country in the Indian subcontinent for the Cougarnet radio system and another from the British Army for the Cougar 2000, for use in a weapons simulator.

Designs for Dundee

Two innovative product design and development centres are being set up in Dundee with the aid of a £1.5m European grant. The Integrated Manufacturing Centre will include rapid modelling equipment and the Manufacturing and Intelligent Systems Technologies Centre will focus on investigating design issues within the manufacturing process.