The Builders Merchants’ Federation and other construction voices joined forces and took their Get Britain Building – Plan B message to the recent political party conferences.
The aim was to make ministers and opposition spokesmen aware of the value that housebuilding & home improvement offers for jobs & growth.
Plan B argues that construction is the only industry capable of creating 2½ million real, meaningful jobs and the sustained economic growth necessary to help Britain climb out of recession.
The BMF and the MMA were joined at the party conferences by:
to field industry spokesmen to make the case for housebuilding & home improvement.
In Manchester, they heard the new Labour leader, Ed Miliband MP, refer directly to the fortunes of construction in his maiden speech. He said: “You see when you cancel thousands of new school buildings at a stroke, it isn’t just bad for our kids – it’s bad for construction companies at a time when their order books are empty”.
In Birmingham, the message to the Conservatives was the need to see the return of a thriving RMI market – repair, maintenance & improvement – as a way to revitalise local economies. ‘Get Britain Building’ believes there is pent-up demand for small works in many local authority areas – a demand which has been severely restricted by a lack of confidence and economic uncertainty.
The ‘Get Britain Building’ position is supported by research carried out two years’ ago by Oxford University. It found the market potential to renovate and insulate existing homes is worth between £3½ and £6½ billion per year.
BMF policy manager Brett Amphlett said: “Plan B is designed to bolster builders and allied crafts & trades that carry out housing improvements, every day of the week, out of sight from the London-based media. The attraction for municipal leaders is that every £1 spent in, say, Birmingham is captured in the city’s economy – or, at least, within the West Midlands”.
“Elected leaders can do this by insisting contracts contain clauses on using apprentices – and for a minimum percentage of inputs to come from the local supply chain”.
‘Get Britain Building’ is not alone in calling for a Plan B. Respected City economists such as Roger Bootle of Capital Economics, and Adam Posen, a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, have both been quoted in national newspapers saying a Plan B is needed to kick-start the economy.