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Government in good news shock

So nothing is ever good or bad unless you think it so, and vice versa.

Government help seems to be like buses: you wait forever and then they all roll up at once.

At last, we seem to be seeing some action from the government on something that might actually mean builders merchants sell more stuff.

The money that they are proposing to pour into the home energy saving programmes is really good news, although the householders will probably end up paying for it in higher bills along the way. But if they really are serious about getting every home properly insulated by 2020 then it’s great news for merchants and manufacturers. Just so long as the money does actually get spent.

The changes to the planning laws are, possibly, even better for merchants . Now I don’t think anyone decides against an extension just because they can’t be bothered to get planning permission, but the fact that it is no longer required for builds of a certain size, is simply one less obstacle in the way. At the very least it might speed things up and get some materials moving out of merchant yards and into builders’ hands.

Always supposing that there is the householder confidence and desire to do so that is. The gloomy outlook is still there, with the economy almost definitely heading officially into recession in the next quarter, there isn’t a lot of good news about in terms of disposable income. There also isn’t, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, a lot of housing transaction movement – an average of one a week, apparently, from some of their members. And those two things – housing transactions and confidence about disposable income – are what really matters in terms of RMI spend.

So, yes, it’s great to see the government doing something that might actually prove useful, and yes, it might be that there is a tiny light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s still just possible that that light might be a train.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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