Industry News

BMF claims victory on Government climbdown over reduced VAT for energy-saving materials

The Builders Merchants’ Federation (BMF) has welcomed the announcement that the Government will keep the current reduced rate of Value-Added Tax on the supply and professional installation of energy-saving materials despite losing a European court case last year.

On Monday the Prime Minister told the House of Commons that his Government will not oppose a move by Conservative MPs - acting with the Labour Party - to stop VAT on insulation, heating & hot water system controls, heat pumps, and solar panels being levied at the 20% standard rate.

Since June 2012, the BMF has been working with economists and Government representatives to keep 5% VAT on energy-saving materials defined in eleven product categories under EU law. In particular materials and products affected are: - insulation for walls, floors, ceilings, roofs or lofts, or water tanks, pipes or other plumbing fittings; - draught-stripping for windows & doors; - central heating system controls inc. thermostatic radiator valves;- hot water system controls;- solar panels;- wind and water turbines; - air-source and ground-source heat pumps; - micro-combined heat and power units; - boilers fuelled by wood, straw or similar plant matter.

Brett Amphlett, BMF Policy & Public Affairs’ Manager, commented: “We are very pleased the Government will keep the reduced rate on materials and products that BMF members distribute. This is a significant victory for the BMF and a good news for merchants, manufacturers, solar panel installers and insulation contractors".

“Now the legislation has been passed, improvements can continue to enjoy the 5% rate to make homes warmer, cut bills and save money. omorrow (Thursday) Energy and Climate Change ministers will be in the House for their monthly question time. I hope, by then, the Government will have clarified its position so we know how ministers intend to keep existing relief despite being at odds with EU law and the court ruling”, Mr Amphlett concluded.

 

[NEWS URL: http://www.cti-timber.org/content/bmf-claims-victory-government-climbdown-over-reduced-vat-energy-saving-materials]

BMF launches free Branch Finder app

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has launched an new Branch locator app that will help customers and tradesmen find the nearest builders merchant outlet across the whole UK.

Available free of charge on Apple iOS and Android, the app enables to search by the merchant’s name, products sold or current location. It uses GPS tracking and geolocation functionality to display a list of the nearest outlets.

BMF MD, John Newcomb commented: “This is the only free app providing information and direct access to thousands of builders merchants throughout the country.  Many tradesmen rely on their smartphone to contact merchants and order materials. This will be a real help when they are working on site, particularly when they are away from their usual merchants. As there is no cost involved, I would urge everyone to download the app today, so it is ready on your smartphone when you need it.”

The BMF Branch Locator App can be freely downloaded at http://apps.excelpublishing.co.uk/bmf/ or via Apple and Android app stores.

 

[News URL: http://www.cti-timber.org/content/bmf-launches-free-branch-finder-app]

BMF comment on Budget Statement: "No real action to tackle housing issue"

John Newcomb, Managing Director of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) commented yesterday Budget Statement saying that "unlike previous announcements, George Osborne did not concentrate on changes aimed at housing and the home improvement trade."

“The Chancellor reaffirmed his wish to simplify and speed up planning permission to increase housing completions and at a faster rate. With the Housing and Planning Bill currently before parliament, we are lobbying ministers to maintain the momentum to narrow the gap between housing demand & supply. More supply-side efforts are crucial to shorten the time it takes builders to start onsite and accelerate the number of homes completed", Mr Newcomb added.

Whilst not perfect, Mr Newcomb said the statement presents some improvements: “For most BMF businesses, specific tax changes ought to help both merchants and their trade customers. Future cuts in Corporation Tax and abolishing National Insurance Contributions for the self-employed are very welcome", Mr Newcomb said.

“Easing the rules on Capital Allowances and a promise to look again at qualifying energy-efficiency and water-saving technologies will also be welcomed by the businesses we represent."

“On Business Rates, switching the annual indexation from RPI to CPI, moving to more frequent revaluations, and further administrative simplification are positive steps on the way to fundamental reform of the rating system. But Mr Osborne still has a major change to make - his treatment of firms that invest in plant & machinery. He wants them to modernise and be more productive but manufacturers are penalised because their investment is reflected immediately in the rateable value of premises. This cannot be right", Mr Newcomb concluded.

 

[News URL: http://www.cti-timber.org/content/bmf-comment-budget-statement-no-real-action-tackle-housing-issue]