It’s a fair bet that whoever came up with the idea of the e-petition is now one of the least popular mandarins in Whitehall. This surprisingly democratic way of influencing government policy triggers a House of Commons debate if the petition concerned attracts at least 100,000 signatures. Most recently, it has forced politicians to discuss thorny issues such as a call for rioters to lose their benefits and for fuel duty to be slashed. The Eye doubts that most politicians welcome such inconvenient impositions from the hoi polloi. Now there’s a petition likely to interest PE readers – a move to get MPs to tackle the perpetually reoccurring issue of the low status of the engineering profession. An e-petition proposing that the title “engineer” is protected legally, like “doctor” or “architect”, has been created by a chap called Donald Robson. So far, it has attracted only 7,000 signatures. But as the petition is open until September next year, achieving the 100,000 target isn’t out of the question. Success in reaching this number would bring the prospect of engineering being debated in the Commons. Get voting!
The Eye also hears that another engineering-related e-petition is about to go live. A group of readers are planning to lobby the government to set aside greater funding for engineering heritage projects, such as the campaign to keep a Vulcan bomber flying at air displays around the country. The petitioners feel that too great a percentage of government heritage money is being used to fund the purchase and upkeep of “traditional” art such as paintings. Meanwhile less fashionable industrial icons, which often act to inspire the next generation of engineers, are left to rot. A worthy campaign, the Eye suggests.
Could GKN be about to hive off its Advanced Engineering Services group, which employs around 700 engineers and technicians at sites in Bristol, Yeovil and on the Isle of Wight? The business provides initial concept design, manufacture and maintenance support to a range of blue-chip companies, including Northrop Grumman, Rolls Royce, Sikorsky, GE Aviation and Thales. An Eye spy claims that GKN is mulling over a sale of the business to outsourcing engineering firm Quest Global. Could a deal be in the pipeline?
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