News & Events

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]

CTI Blog - Values and Value: getting the message right 

This guest blog post is by Dougal Driver, CEO of Grown in Britain

 

This November will see the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest, which enshrined rights to royal forest access for ‘free men’ of the time. A modern day Tree Charter has been created for the anniversary, aiming to reaffirm the connection between Britain’s people and its forests through ten principles.

These  include recognizing economic and employment potential alongside the roles of conservation, health and wellbeing that forests can provide. Of greatest concern to us at Grown in Britain is that society comes to value the right trees for the right reasons.

British timber was formerly seen by timber traders and distributors as a somewhat poor relation to imported stock. After massive investment by all the big producers across Britain in the last 20 years, that perception is now well out of date. Some of the big mills here in the UK operate at a standard certainly equal to, if not slightly ahead of, major mills in other parts of northern Europe. Kilning and quality control, and greater availability, have contributed to British timber representing just shy of 40% of the UK’s timber usage by volume in 2015, according to the latest TTF statistics. British timber’s economic value is therefore undisputed.  

The language used in many other forums where trees are discussed, however, still shows a gap in public understanding, which we must all work harder to close. Forest cover is talked of as being ‘lost’, with the implication that it’s ‘gone forever’, and trees are still talked of as being ‘cut down’, with its derogatory implications, rather than ‘harvested’. Grown in Britain is starting to tackle some of these perceptions, but we need the whole timber industry’s help in doing so. 

At home, at social gatherings, or even when taking family and children for walks, we should all play our part in helping others to understand that, for example, trees for harvesting and trees as valued habitats can exist in close quarter. We need to ‘normalise’ this concept of trees being harvested and replanted wherever we go in life, if the raw material that sustains our industry is not to be erroneously valued and our industry wrongly targeted by public opinion. British wood producers and an increasing number of timber merchants are choosing to highlight positively their connection with sustainable British timber through the Grow in Britain licensing scheme. 

The right to access forests for recreation, health and wellbeing, plus the benefits of doing so, and the environmental outcomes that forests support, are rightly valued by all. Where effort is needed is to dovetail these sentiments with industry’s capability to maintain such societal values alongside undertaking economic harvesting and production.  

We hope CTI supporters and stakeholders will all sign up to the Tree Charter principles. At the same time, we hope you’ll also help Grown in Britain to underline the economic value of our forests and woodlands by supporting more British producers, and bringing more British-grown timber into your supply chains.  

It’s the only way to ensure that values and value can co-exist sustainably for the future. 

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/cti-blog-values-and-value-getting-message-right]

CTI responds to Industrial Strategy Green Paper 2017 highlighting Timber Industry's contribution to UK Economy

The Confederation of Timber Industries has issued its response to the Government's consultation on the Industrial Strategy Green Paper 2017.

The CTI response - available here - addresses the ten pillars of the industrial strategy with recommendations on how to encourage inward investment, deliver affordable energy, develop skills and support business growth.

The paper sets out policy asks to ensure that the Timber industry can supporting a productive future for the UK economy. It also includes case studies for consideration and highlights actions that the timber industry could take to support their ambitions of a sustainable, productive and economically strong sector.

Roy Wakeman OBE, Chair of the CTI, said: "The Industrial Strategy Green Paper gives us a once in a generation opportunity to shape change. The Green Paper looks intrinsically at what drives productivity, from inherent supply chain practice through to the skills we need to move forward."

"The Green Paper rightly challenges us not just to look at how we work with Government, but how we can drive positive change within our own supply chain. In our response, we start to explore how we meet the challenges and opportunities as a £10 billion supply chain, building on the natural advantage that timber offers and started to consider what a Sector Deal might look like."

"We look forward to engaging more closely with the industry and new government to develop these ideas once the election is over."

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/cti-responds-industrial-strategy-green-paper-2017-highlighting-timber-industrys-contribution]

CTI Blog - Timber is set to be a vital, dynamic part of UK industrial future

This blog post is by Roy Wakeman OBE, CTI Chairman

This feature is also included in CTI response to the Industrial Strategy Green Paper

 

Timber; flexible, structurally strong and having the lowest embodied carbon of any commercially available commodity; contributes $600 billion to the global economy around 1% of global total GDP.

The World Bank forecasts the global demand for timber will quadruple by 2050. The timber supply chain is a key part of the manufacturing and construction industries in the UK adding an annual value of over £10 billion to the UK economy. It provides jobs across a wide spectrum of skills, directly employing over 150,000 people across the country (with over 350,000 jobs reliant on timber).

Recognising that skills are critical to productivity, there are currently over 10,000 apprentices currently working towards a woodworking, carpentry or joinery qualification and it is predicted that approximately 4,000 apprentices are required to be recruited each year for the next four to keep up with demand.

The industry is constantly evolving and through the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI) we are developing our core qualifications to ensure that they embrace latest and future requirements. The supply chain is attracting investment in manufacturing and logistic capacity, developing new products and innovations in a variety of sectors and applications. If this growth is to be maintained in a rapidly changing economic and political environment, we need to work together with Government to ensure the right policy and market frameworks are developed.

The CTI was formed in 2015 to do just this, acting as an umbrella organisation across the Timber supply chain. With the support and leadership of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), Builders Merchant Federation (BMF), British Woodworking Federation (BWF), and the Structural Timber Association (STA), as well as a network of individual companies and organisations, the CTI is lobbying to put the Timber Industries at the heart of the new industrial strategy.

The CTI will focus on several key themes to influence the development and expansion of the Timber supply chain: Sustainability; Value & Growth; Skills, Jobs and Training; and meeting our Housing needs. In these areas, we will work collaboratively to stimulate growth and productivity, providing pan-supply chain representation across the industry to ensure that timber is not just seen as a vital element of our industrial heritage, but that it remains a vital, dynamic part of our industrial future.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/cti-blog-timber-set-be-vital-dynamic-part-uk-industrial-future]

Explore Offsite Education: conference & exhibition | 18 May 2017 | London

On 18th May 2017, Explore Offsite, in collaboration with the Education & Skills Funding Agency, will hold an integrated conference and exhibition event in London focused on the offsite construction sector.

The event aims to create a platform for construction clients, architects, engineers and contractors to come together and discuss the latest offsite solutions in the education sector.

The conference comes at a time when the government has just confirmed that an investment of c. £2 billion is to be allocated to rebuild or refurbish 277 schools across England.

This marks the second phase of the priority school building programme (PSBP), which presents the opportunity for offsite construction to play a major role to help meet challenging targets. One of the most frequently cited benefits of offsite construction is the speed of construction that it offers, with the time required to construct and commission an offsite building being typically reduced by 50-60 percent in cases where large elements can be prefabricated.

The complete conference programme is available here. For further info and online registration, click here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/explore-offsite-education-conference-exhibition-18-may-2017-london]

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