The Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma has told builders merchants that housing is a major priority for this Government and welcomed plans by brick maker Ibstock to invest £50 million in a new factory in Leicestershire.
Sharma, who is MP for Reading, was the headline speaker at BMF’s annual Members’ Day event in Leicestershire and emphasised the vital role builders’ merchants play in getting more homes built in this country.
He said: “Delivering more homes is a key priority for this Government. Builders’ merchants have an absolutely vital role to play in this, supplying the essential materials we need to get our country building faster. I congratulate the resilient performance of UK builders’ merchants over this year, and I look forward to working with the sector to put into action the far-reaching reforms of the Housing White Paper. By working together, we will ensure we have the right building blocks in place to meet local housing needs and promote growth across all areas of the country.”
According to the latest figures released by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) through their Builders Merchants Building Index, sales in Q2 2017 were 5.3% higher compared to the same period last year (when adjusted for there being two less days trading in the period). The data also states that builders’ merchants year-to-date sales are 3.8% higher compared to the same time last year.
Sharma also said that the Ibstock £50m investment was: “fantastic news for the building materials industry, demonstrating continuing confidence in this sector and growing consumer demand.”
John Newcomb, BMF CEO Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation said: “As a country we need to build many more homes, but these cannot be built without the materials and products that BMF members make, stock and deliver on a daily basis to where they are needed. There are also thousands of households wanting to repair, extend or adapt their home, and again they rely on builders’ merchants to provide the materials to do this.
“Despite our members’ robust performance so far this year, there are still some challenges facing our sector such as the supply of materials and the potential for the price of materials to increase due to higher commodity prices and fluctuations in exchange rates. We also want to see the Government press ahead with its proposals contained in the Housing White Paper, as this will bring a welcome boost to housebuilders”.