The Builders Merchants Federation welcomed the announcement, just before Christmas, that the UK and the EU have agreed a free trade agreement achieving widespread market access with no tariffs or quotas because it will provide the construction sector with much needed reassurance in respect of the cost and availability of building products and materials.
BMF CEO, John Newcomb, who also co-chairs the Construction Leadership Council’s Movement of Goods and Materials working group said: “While we still have to study the detail, the conclusion of a trade deal should avoid unnecessary tariffs on building products and materials moving between the EU and the UK and the price rises that would inevitably follow. This has always been our favoured outcome. Every day of uncertainty made it harder for our members to plan and those who trade with the EU will be relieved that they will not have to deal with a host of additional procedures as well as additional costs.
“Builders and other local tradespeople continued to work to improve people’s home throughout the pandemic and are set to play a key role in the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery. We now have the assurance of the continued free flow of materials needed to fulfil the Government’s promise to build back better, improve the energy efficiency of our homes and create the many thousands of jobs required to do so.
“However, we remain concerned over the capacity problems at UK container ports, which in recent weeks have demonstrated how quickly shortages and consequential price increases can occur. We are continuing to press for action to resolve these issues as soon as possible, so the construction industry’s new year return to work is not slowed by the lack of key products.”