Industry News

BMF urges new government to discuss Brexit impact on Construction Industry

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is leading calls for urgent talks with the government over the impact of Brexit on the construction industry. 

Following the appointment of the new Prime Minister, Theresa May and her Cabinet, the BMF has written to key Ministers to highlight the urgency and importance to the UK economy and jobs of the construction sector in the context of Brexit.

The BMF has welcomed the new Prime Minister’s early pledge that the new government will prioritise housebuilding, which is recognition of both the importance of the sector and the current uncertainty in the economy.  

BMF has called for a clear plan from the new Prime Minister and the Government that includes:

  • Assurances of continued support for housebuilding, investment in infrastructure to unlock sites, and further reforms to speed up the planning process
  • Recognition of the importance of investing in apprenticeships and other skills development in the industry to build a workforce for the future, taking account of the impact of the possible end of free movement.
  • Guarantees that the construction industry will be consulted about the impact of the transition to operating within a potential UK only framework, including new product standards and a possible return to the emphasis on the British Kite Mark
  • Confirmation that the BMF along with other key industry bodies, including the FMB and the CPA, will be consulted and involved in a dialogue with the government as Brexit talks and negotiation develops.

BMF MD John Newcomb said: “Construction is hugely important for the UK economy and it is vital that the industry is prioritised and consulted by the government as Brexit plans develop.  We want to hear concrete commitments from the government to support housebuilding.  It is also critical that we are involved in planning for the potential end of free movement, so that we have the skilled workforce ready that we will need for the future."

"We have had very constructive relations with David Cameron’s government and we are looking forward to working closely with the new government”.


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'Green Deal' affected by bureaucracy and poor implementation, says BMF

The Builders Merchants’ Federation (BMF) has released a note commenting the review of the Green Deal by the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee.

In its contribution to the Public Accounts Committee, the BMF said that:

  • The ‘pay-as-you-save’ concept is fundamentally sound but was not working well. The Green Deal suffered from undue levels of bureaucracy (notably consumer credit, accreditation & warranties/guarantees), unattractive finance and poor implementation. Legal, financial and IT complications meant it began slowly, was too complex, and was under-promoted to the public
  • Ministers got carried away in their ambition and foolish remarks were made

Remarkably, the National Audit Office (NAO) underlined the Green Deal - which costs taxpayers £240 million - failed to deliver any meaningful benefit. The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC)’s aim to encourage residents to pay for improvements looked good on paper - but yielded low-levels of energy & carbon savings and cost  £17,000 per home loan.


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BMF issues briefing paper on Apprenticeships Levy

The Builders Merchants’ Federation (BMF) has issued a briefing paper to all its members to outline changes that the UK Government is making to the way apprenticeships are structured and financed.

The Apprenticeships’ Levy will apply to businesses with a paybill of more than £3 million a year. In the briefing, the BMF alerts its members that medium-sized businesses employing between 100-200 staff will become liable to pay it when it comes into force on 6 April 2017.

"The BMF did not ask for a compulsory levy to be imposed on our members. There is a case for greater employer participation in the training and funding of apprentices - but I am not convinced these proposals are the right ones”, said BMF Managing Director John Newcomb.

“Trying to meet a fixed date of 6 April 2017 is risky. Getting this right must take precedence over forcing the pace of change. No-one wants to re-visit this in a year or two to put things right. The absence of clarity on how it will operate in Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland is concerning”.

"The Apprenticeships’ Levy is part of a complex but concerted move by the UK Government to boost productivity & employment and improve vocational training & skills. Changes to Corporation Tax and National Insurance Contributions are being made to incentivise employers to invest more", Mr Newcomb added.

The BMF has also announced another briefing direct to its members - focused on arrangements affecting employers not liable to pay the Levy, but who do currently take on apprentices, or plan to in the future.


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'UK Trade organizations will work together to address post-Brexit vote', says BMF MD

The Builders Merchant Federation (BMF) has issued a statement on the result of the EU Referendum

"The BMF fully respects the democratic decision that has been made by the British people and in which our members, their employees and customers have participated", said BMF Managing Director John Newcomb.

"Our priority now is to work together in the BMF and with other trade bodies to make sure the construction industry is properly consulted and engaged in discussions with the government about the implications of the vote to leave the EU. There are many important issues to raise on behalf of BMF members about future changes that impact on jobs and the future of projects and funding that are linked to the government and in some cases to the EU." 

"Next week the BMF will enter a period of detailed discussions with other leading Trade Associations such as the CBI, CPA and FMB about the impact of today's decision on our sector and a more detailed statement will be issued from the BMF Board to all Members following these discussions",
Mr Newcomb added.


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BMF pledges to double number of women entering merchant industry by 2020

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has pledged to help address unemployment and poorly paid employment amongst young women by signing up to the Young Women’s Trust employer pledge. 

The BMF has set an ambitious target to double the number of women and girls entering the merchant industry by 2020.  At present only 11 per cent of merchanting apprentices are female.

The BMF announcement follows figures released by CITB which show that 232,000 jobs will be created in construction industry over the next 5 years and the findings of the charity the Young Women’s Trust which has found that over 1 million women aged between 16 and 30 are in poorly paid roles and looking for work.

“Merchanting is a fantastic career with great progression and I want to open up the sector to more women across the country. This is a huge opportunity for our members who need a full mix of skills and experience in their branches and I am certain that we will meet, if not exceed, our ambitious target", said John Newcomb, BMF Managing Director.

Carole Easton, Chief Executive of the Young Women’s Trust added: “There is much more that can be done to help young women into work. We believe that positive action can play a part and we are delighted that the BMF have signed our pledge and have gone even further in setting their own gender diversity targets for the merchanting sector. Our apprenticeships report unveiled a shocking story around women’s apprenticeships and we are very keen to work with industry partners to address this”.


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