News & Events

CTI Blog - Positive steps forward on apprenticeships and housing in Autumn Budget 2018

This blog post is by Helen Hewitt, CTI Director and CEO fo British Woodworking Federation (BWF)

 

On 29th October 2018, the Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his Autumn 2018 Budget, the last before Brexit. We were pleased to see some positive measures which will help smaller businesses offer apprenticeships. The £695m initiative to reduce the cost of apprenticeship training for small businesses will halve the amount they have to contribute from 10% to 5%. UK’s SMEs are pivotal to the success of the apprenticeship scheme and this should go some way to resolving the growing skills gap in our sector and to help boost productivity.

Delivering a solution to end the UK’s housing crisis has long been on the political agenda and so we welcomed the Chancellor’s promise of a further £500m for the housing infrastructure fund to help build a further 650,000 homes. In addition, he pointed to strategic partnerships with 9 housing associations to “deliver 13,000 homes across England, up to £1bn pounds of British business bank guarantees, to support the revival of SME house builders.” On the surface, tapping into the potential of SME house builders to increase housing stock is a smart move. However, as we pointed out following the Spring statement, a successful housing strategy is not just about increasing supply. The fund now stands at £5.5bn, yet there was still no mention of an allocation to ensure that essential fire safety works required in existing social houses are paid for. So, the question still remains as to who will foot the bill.  

In more good news for house building, the importance of investing in our high streets with a £675 million Future High Streets Fund to allow councils to rejuvenate town centres could lead to benefits for members. With the Federation of Master Builders estimating last year that as many as 300,000 to 400,000 new homes alone could be created by making use of empty spaces above shops on our high streets, the Future High Streets Fund could be a further boost for residential accommodation.

The Chancellor pledged to publish a full response into the review of build out rates by Sir Oliver Letwin which concluded that large housebuilders are not engaged in ‘systematic speculative land banking.’ We welcome any move to reduce bureaucracy in the planning system and look forward to the Governments response to the recommendations.

The collapse of Carillion left many wondering what the impact on subcontractors would be and called for a review of public sector construction contracts. Some clarity came on Monday when it was announced that public private partnerships will soon be no more with PFI and PF2 contracts abolished. Existing contracts under the PFI and PF2 system will be honoured but no new ones will be signed and a “centre of excellence” will be set up to manage the remaining contracts, worth approximately £200bn. However, more clarity is still required around how a new model will work to ensure that the infrastructure this country requires continues to be built.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/cti-blog-positive-steps-forward-apprenticeships-and-housing-autumn-budget-2018]

Martin Whitfield MP elected new Chair of Timber Industries APPG

Martin Whitfield, MP for East Lothian, has been elected as new Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Timber Industries at its AGM at Westminster.

The APPG brings together parliamentarians from the Commons and the Lords with an interest in the UK's timber industries to ensure that issues affecting the sector are highlighted within Parliament and to Government.

Officers of the renewed APPG now include: Joint Vice Chairman Bill Grant, MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock (Conservative), Joint Vice Chairman Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore (Labour) and Joint Vice Chairman Antoinette Sandbach, MP for Eddisbury (Conservative).

The timber industries contribute over £10 billion per year to the UK economy and are in the top 50% of manufacturing industries in the UK. The sector employs around 200,000 people across the UK, in construction, manufacturing and distribution. 

East Lothian is one of the most important hubs for the timber industries in Scotland, including Alba Trees, the UK’s largest supplier of cell grown plants, and various sawmills and timber merchants all located within the county.

One of Mr Whitfield’s first acts as Chair will be to lead a Westminster Hall debate on the effect of Brexit on the UK’s timber industries on Wednesday 31st October.

Martin Whitfield MP said: “The timber industries APPG was one of the first I joined after entering Parliament, so I'm very pleased to now have the opportunity to chair the group and play a bigger role in promoting the interests of the sector.

"Local businesses in the timber industries play an important role in providing jobs in East Lothian. They help facilitate demand across the UK for sustainable, managed forests and contribute to addressing the housing crisis by providing affordable, environmentally friendly timber-framed homes.

"I will continue to work with parliamentary colleagues and industry representatives to stand up for the needs of the UK’s forestry and timber industries and promote them in Parliament."

David Hopkins, Director of the CTI added: “We are delighted that Martin has taken up this role with the Timber Industries APPG. The timber sector can play a key role in achieving the goals of a number of policy areas, from housebuilding to clean-growth. We look forward to working with Martin and fellow members of the APPG over the coming year to do this.”

The photo gallery of the meeting is available here.

Find out more about composition and activities of the Timber Industries APPG here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/martin-whitfield-mp-elected-new-chair-timber-industries-appg]

Press Release - Martin Whitfield MP elected new Chair of Timber Industries APPG

Martin Whitfield MP elected new Chair of Timber Industries APPG 

Martin Whitfield, MP for East Lothian, has been elected as new Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Timber Industries at its AGM at Westminster. 

The APPG brings together parliamentarians from the Commons and the Lords with an interest in the UK's timber industries to ensure that issues affecting the sector are highlighted within Parliament and to Government. 

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‘Time For Timber’ at CTI Hub, Timber Expo 2018 – Highlights

CTI Joint Stand at Timber Expo 2018 - MEDIA RECAP

From 9 to 11 October 2018, the Confederation of Timber Industries and its partner organisations British Woodworking Federation (BWF), Structural Timber Association (STA), Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) showcased the many opportunities of building with timber at Timber Expo 2018. The CTI Hub aka ‘Time For Timber’ represented a benchmark for the entire show, offering a wide array of workshops, seminars and networking events.  

You can find a visual recap of the event - including photos and presentations - here.

TTF's UK Wood Panels Conference 2018 | 7 November 2018 | London

On Wednesday 7th November 2018, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) will hold a conference in central London focused on wood panels production and trade.

The UK Wood Panels Conference 2018: adding value through innovation & fire safety will examine the current and future state of the wood panel products market in the UK.

Speakers of the day include Clive Pininngton, Managing Director of the European Panel Federation, and David Murray, Innovation Manager at MEDITE SMARTPLY. 

The debate will focus on the innovative ways manufacturers and traders are adding value, ensuring quality and designing products to meet specific market needs at all steps of the supply chain.

"Wood-based panel products are one of the fastest sectors in the timber supply chain," explain the organisers. "Versatile, decorative and easy to use, they are increasingly popular with merchants, builders, designers and architects."

For more information and registration, click here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/ttfs-uk-wood-panels-conference-2018-7-november-2018-london]

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