Industry News

'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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BMF shortlisted for Trade Association Best Practice Awards

For the second year running, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has been shortlisted for three prestigious Trade Association Best Practice Awards in the Trade Association Forum’s (TAF’s) annual contest to take place on 6 July 2016 in London.

The BMF is shortlisted for Magazine of the Year for its quarterly member magazine, One Voice, for Event of the Year for BMF Members’ Day 2015, and for Website of the Year for its dedicated youth recruitment site,

Linda Cavender, Chief Executive of Trade Association Forum, commented: “Year on year, the standard of entries for the Awards gets higher and higher and this means that our Sifting Panels had an exceptionally difficult job in deciding which entries should go on the shortlist.  However, after lengthy debate, we have a strong list of finalists, all of which have entered some fantastic projects which we will be showcasing in due course at our TA Best Practice Exchange in November later this year.” 

BMF MD, John Newcomb added: “The BMF team works exceptionally hard to support our members and I am delighted that their work has again been recognised. Last year the BMF went on to win two TAF awards and it would be fantastic to have similar success this year, but reaching the shortlist against such stiff competition is worth celebrating in its own right.”


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