BMF & FMB comment on Government’s Growth Plan

BMF & FMB comment on Government’s Growth Plan

The industry has outlined its reponse to the UK Government’s Growth Plan, revealed earlier by newly-appointed Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng MP, with initial comments from the BMF and FMB.

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation, said: “In the fortnight since coming to power, the new UK Government has acted quickly to put Liz Truss’s leadership election campaign pledges into action. Today’s Growth Plan provides BMF members with some degree of certainty and indicates the direction of travel of the new ministerial team.

“We welcome the cuts in business taxes at time when BMF members face the cumulative effect of higher raw material, labour, energy and transport costs.

“We are also looking closely at the moves to ease rules on nutrient neutrality, which have had a direct impact on builders’ merchants since the ‘Dutch N’ court ruling in Europe prompted revised guidance from Natural England to local authorities advising all planning applications should guard against pollution from nitrates and phosphates.

“As local councils are not approving applications, SME customers of merchants face laying off staff because they cannot resume onsite or begin new projects. New housing projects in 74 local authority areas have now been stalled as developers are required to demonstrate nutrient neutrality, delaying the construction of an estimated 114,800 new homes.

“These issues were discussed at BMF Members’ Day last week between merchants and manufacturers to come up with practical solutions on nitrates and phosphates. The BMF and others have been lobbying DLUHC and DEFRA ministers to find a way forward so local authorities can grant much-needed planning applications again.

“As Mr Kwarteng said, there is more detail to come, especially on reforming planning permission for new housing, so our hope is that today’s announcement is the first step on the way back to Getting Britain Building Again.”

The BMF has also issued an ‘at-a-glance’ summary of the main points of  today’s fiscal statement, outlining many of the key details applicable to BMF members in all four home nations. Click here to read the summary.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB), meanwhile, says tht Chancellor’s ‘Mini Budget’ with its strong emphasis on economic growth is a gamble but offers hope to small builders.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The strong focus to ‘get Britain building’ by unlocking government surplus land and extending the stamp duty threshold to help prospective house buyers is a welcome boost in a tough market. However, at a time when we are building fewer homes than needed, more action is required to boost delivery of more high quality homes from small, local builders.”

Brian continued: “Although not announced by the Chancellor in his statement, we’re pleased to see a small step forward in improving the energy efficiency of homes in the Chancellor’s ‘Growth Plan’, which will incentivise energy companies to help customers upgrade their homes. However, what’s really needed now to boost local growth and skills is a fully fledged national retrofit strategy focusing on the UK’s 29 million leaky homes.”

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