Action is transitory, a step, a blow,
The motion of a muscle, this way or that,
‘Tis done–And in the after-vacancy,
We wonder at ourselves, like men betrayed.
So the Government has decided that it needs to help small builders and tradesmen in the construction industry who may be struggling to get credit so that they can buy materials.
Well that’s nice.
But its solution is to spending £30m on a pilot scheme which will mean those traders can get extra credit from B&Q and Screwfix stores.
That was announced on the website of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on Monday.
Well, thanks a lot. It means that customers of B&Q TradePoint and Screwfix, can now apply for a credit account of up to £25,000. Apparently, according to the press release” previously, these viable businesses would only have been eligible for credit of up to £3,000 from Screwfix or B&Q, making it harder for them to take on projects due to being unable to afford the upfront costs of the materials”.
Or, here’s another option that Business Minster Michael Fallon presumably hasn’t bothered his little head about – they could have applied for credit at other building material suppliers.
There are plenty of viable alternative suppliers for small tradesmen in the construction industry. They are called builders merchants and they’ve been giving credit and acting as the industry’s bankers for hundreds of years.
Under this new pilot scheme, existing trade customers of B&Q TradePoint and Screwfix will be able to apply to extend their accounts for credit of up to £50,000.
So, if a customer of B&Q can get all this extra credit, why would he bother to go anywhere else? Unless he wants decent customer service, stock held in depth and breadth and advice from people who really do know what they are talking about, I suppose.
Fallon said: “Britain’s builders have a vital role to play in delivering growth in this country and we’re determined to get behind them.”
We know that, you idiot. We, the construction industry, have been banging on about this all through this recession. We need you to come up with something to support the whole industry, not just those parts that you have decided to buddy up with. Don’t forget, it was at B&Q that the Government chose as the venue for its initial Green Deal announcement way back when.
There are other, better ways of boosting the smaller , local, shovel-ready end of the construction industry. VAT at 5% for one.
Apparently, though, this is just a pilot scheme and other interested parties are being invited to take part. At least one small independent merchant I know said he had put his name down to take part, but he’s not holding his breath that it’ll actually happen.