Industry reacts to Boris Johnson appointment

Industry reacts to Boris Johnson appointment

Boris Johnson has been elected as the new Conservative Party Leader and is set to officially become the UK’s next Prime Minister.

PBM considers some of the responses from the construction sector, starting with the BMF, FMB and NFB: 

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants’ Federation:

“I congratulate Boris Johnson on his election as Tory Leader in succession to Theresa May. I also wish him well, as the challenges ahead that he and his new ministerial team face, both internationally and here at home, are immense.

“Looking beyond Brexit to domestic policy, we seek urgent confirmation that solving the housing crisis is at the very top of his to-do list. Watching the coverage of last week’s final Leadership Hustings in east London, Boris wasn’t asked a single question about housing or home improvement. Indeed, little more than lip service has been paid to this area over the past 9 years, with 9 Tory Housing Ministers during that time.

“Mrs May’s Government may have set a target of 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, but if this is to be achieved, the BMF wants long-lasting stability and fresh determination by a Boris Johnson Government to narrow the gap between housing demand and supply.”

Mr Johnson’s election comes three weeks after Parliament legislated for a new committment to end the UK’s contribution to global warming with a net zero emissions’ target by year 2050. John continued: “The BMF met Boris when he was Mayor of London. We helped him and City Hall officials with his London Boiler Cashback Offer that encouraged Londoners to replace old boilers with modern, energy-efficient models. We hope he can now give renewed impetus to help people and companies move towards a low- or zero-carbon future, especially in their homes and workplaces.

“Investing to improve buildings and fitting energy-efficient and water-saving measures is central to our members’ businesses. They deliver the insulation, heating & hot water systems, thermostatic controls and heat pumps on which policy must be based to make necessary cuts in emissions.”

The BMF has also commented on the election of Jo Swinson MP as the Leader of the Liberal Democrats. With reference to the 2050 net zero emissions’ target, John Newcomb said: “Given the Liberal Democrats’ long-held beliefs on energy and the environment, we hope she will keep up the pressure on Whitehall to convert warm words into concrete action to help people and companies move towards a low- or zero carbon future, especially in their homes and workplaces.”

John added: “As a Business Minister Jo was keen to advance the role of women in the workplace and encouraged companies to see the benefits of a having a diverse workforce. As the trade body for the building materials supply chain, the BMF is actively promoting diversity in an industry that can easily, but unfairly, be portrayed as being mainly for men. We hope Jo continues to champion this important cause.”

For more information visit the BMF website

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB):

“Boris the builder must build columns instead of writing them if he is to fix the housing crisis and restore the hope of home ownership to a generation. We will only reach the number of good quality homes we need, and at the rate we need them, if local house builders are freed up to build as many homes as the large house builders.

“We want to see Boris bring down the barriers facing construction SMEs, including those who repair and maintain our homes. If Boris is looking to cut taxes, then we suggest slashing VAT on home improvement works, as nine in ten builders believe this is the single best tool in Boris the builder’s toolkit to prevent an economic downturn post-Brexit.

“Bojo must restore the housing market’s mojo to ensure that Brexit Britain is built on strong foundations.”

National Federation of Builders

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) congratulates Boris Johnson on his victory, but cautions him that, regardless of the eventual shape of Brexit, the country and the economy need certainty above everything else. From EU citizens’ rights and climate change to the housing crisis and late payment which is crippling the construction industry, the new prime minister must enable change and avoid getting stuck by trying to solve one problem at a time.

Nick Sangwin, National Chair of the NFB, said: “We wish Boris Johnson well but he needs to hit the ground running. Brexit uncertainty must be dispelled so that businesses can get on with planning their own futures. Deal or no deal, the EU settlement scheme and proposed immigration reforms need immediate reform or we risk leaving millions of our EU friends behind.”

Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the NFB, added: “We implore the new prime minister to give more attention to our domestic despairs. With no end in sight to the housing crisis, this country needs radical planning reform. We must also eradicate the scourge of late payment and reform outdated procurement practices so that our hard-working SMEs and regional contractors can propel Britain’s economy into prosperity after Brexit.”


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