Industry News

Housing Minister Alok Sharma to be keynote speaker at BMF Members Day

The Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Alok Sharma, will speak at the Builders Merchants Federation’s Members Day on 20th September 2017. 

Mr Sharma, who was appointed to this role in June 2017, is responsible for the government’s housing and home ownership policy as well as the planning policy which underpins it. Other important parts of his current portfolio include estates regeneration and regulation of the private rented sector.  

Mr Sharma was elected as Conservative MP for Reading West in May 2010. Before taking up his current post he was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and has served as a member of the Commons Treasury select committee and the Commons Science and Technology select committee. 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “A great deal of merchant business is driven by housing but I believe this is the first time that a housing minister has addressed BMF Members Day. We are delighted that Alok Sharma is able to join us this year.” 

BMF Members’ Day 2017 will be held at Jurys Inn Hinckley Island Hotel in Leicestershire. The Business Conference and the BMF’s black-tie Awards Dinner both take place on 20th September. The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament will be held on the previous day, 19th September, along with our other social activities, Quad Biking and Rifle Shooting 

For more information and to book a place at the BMF Members’ Day Event, click here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/housing-minister-alok-sharma-be-keynote-speaker-bmf-members-day]

BMF and Grown In Britain announce strategic partnership to boost sales of UK-grown timber

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) and Grown In Britain have established a strategic partnership to help UK merchants extend their customers choice and business opportunities.

The partnership was announced at the BMF Timber Forum held in Coventry yesterday.

With around a fifth of general merchant business comprising timber & wood products, maximizing sales opportunities in the category is key to profitability. 

“One of our core functions as a Federation is to help members to market their businesses,” said BMF Managing Director John Newcomb.

“British timber is already present in merchant yards yet is not necessarily highlighted to customers as a buying choice. To grow merchants’ wood business, both pre- and post-Brexit, our partnership with Grown in Britain will give members information and ideas for making the most of the British timber in their supply chains,” John Newcomb added.

Grown in Britain was formed in 2013. It runs a special Grown in Britain Week which this year coincides with UK Construction Week in October. One of its achievements is a timber procurement preference statement in favour of British-grown timber from major contractors.

CEO Dougal Driver said: “We will be enabling BMF merchant members to sell British-grown timber with confidence, providing the latest information and promotional guidance. There has been vast investment in producing British timber in the past 20 years, with mills here operating to the same or higher standards than those in northern Europe. Whilst challenging perceptions we’ll be helping merchants to take full business advantage."

British-grown timber, often in the shape of carcassing and decking, is already an unseen element in many builders’ merchants’ ranges. To underline the marketing advantage of British-grown timber as a merchant differentiator, Grown In Britain has recently produced a new, brief Guide for the merchant sector, freely downloadable here.

Part of a series of leaflets for different markets, the new merchant guide, ‘Building Business with Wood Grown in Britain’, details the British-grown timber preference statement adopted by many major contractors looking to extend their supply chains to local merchants.
 

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bmf-and-grown-britain-announce-strategic-partnership-boost-sales-uk-grown-timber]

BMF comments on Queen's Speech: "Positive engagement on trade and housing"

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has commented today’s Queen’s Speech to Parliament that set out the Government’s legislative programme for the next two year.

John Newcomb, BMF Managing Director, said:“The Queen’s Speech reflects the Government’s pre-occupation with the complex negotiations to leave the European Union but we do welcome the very encouraging noises today on housing and industrial policy, which will both help grow the economy, improve living standards and increase productivity”.

“We welcome the clear statement in the Queen’s Speech that proposals will be brought forward to help ensure more homes are built. The Government has acknowledged that not enough homes are being built and that we need to build more of the right homes in the right places, and diversify who builds homes. Our understanding is that the Housing White Paper does not now require further legislation, so we would urge the Government to implement it as quickly as possible”.

“The BMF also welcomes the Government’s commitment to implementing the Industrial Strategy and the new Trade and Customs Bills which will enable our members to trade confidently and continue with their planned investments. The BMF favours an Industrial Strategy that showcases the construction industry, based on a clearly-defined, well-articulated mission to give it purpose, drive and direction. A resilient, functioning and enduring supply chain must be a core component if the Strategy is to succeed”.

“Our latest Builders Merchant Building Index shows that merchants experienced strong growth in the first quarter of 2017, with sales up 5.9% compared to the same time last year. This shows the vital role of builders, plumbers and timber merchants in delivering economic growth. Housing is not built, nor are homes repaired, extended or adapted, without the materials and products that BMF members deliver. We look forward to working with new ministers in the coming months”.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bmf-comments-queens-speech-positive-engagement-trade-and-housing]

BMF urges Government and Opposition to negotiate mutually-beneficial customs agreement with EU

“We want to negotiate to ensure there are no new customs burdens when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in two years’ time” was the message from Sir Keir Starmer MP to the Builders Merchants’ Federation (BMF) yesterday.

The Shadow Brexit Secretary was answering a question from Brett Amphlett, who represented the BMF at a major Labour Party event in Westminster. Sir Keir gave a keynote televised speech to set out his Party’s approach to leaving the EU if Labour wins the forthcoming General Election.

The BMF wants politicians of all parties to understand that leaving the Customs Union without a comprehensive UK-EU free trade agreement will unsettle business confidence and planned investments - with severe consequences for the merchants and manufacturers it represents.

Sir Keir was asked whether the HMRC and port authorities have sufficient resources to deal with millions more customs’ declarations that will be necessary when the UK leaves the EU Customs’ Union. The BMF argues that if inspections at ports are not properly resourced, consignments will be stuck on quaysides urges Government and causing unnecessary backlogs and delays in fulfilling customer orders.

Sir Keir said that the country cannot have a situation where ‘no deal’ is better than a ‘bad deal’ and that there will have to be transitional arrangements to avoid uncertainty for affected businesses.

Yesterday’s speech took place at the Institute of Civil Engineers in front of an invited audience of businessmen and women and political editors from the national print & broadcast media.

Since the Prime Minister triggered the EU Article 50 clause, the BMF has been lobbying MPs to persuade the Government to negotiate a mutually-beneficial new customs agreement based on zero or low tariffs. More should be done to prepare for the possibility of no deal with the EU - and the unwanted extra bureaucratic and financial burdens that will arise from that, says the BMF.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bmf-urges-government-and-opposition-negotiate-mutually-beneficial-customs-agreement-eu]

Sales of Timber and Joinery products up 10.5% year-on-year

The latest Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) issued by the BMF shows a general increase in sales of timber and joinery products in the last part of 2016.

In November 2016, Timber & Joinery Products sales went up by 10.5% year-on-year and 0.9% month-to-month.

Moreover, in the period from September to November 2016, sales of timber and wood products were 2.3% higher than in the previous three months (June to August 2016).

On a wider scale, Builders Merchants Sales nationally were up 6.8% for the three months September – November 2016 when compared with the same three months in 2015.

The 12 month comparison was up by 7.0% over the previous 12 month period and the monthly comparison was up 13.5% over November last year.

The complete bulletin can be downloaded here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/sales-timber-and-joinery-products-105-year-year]

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