Responding to newly appointed Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng MP’s speech on the UK Government’s Growth Plan. John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), said:
“In the fortnight since coming to power, the new UK Government has acted quickly to put Liz Truss’s leadership election campaign pledges into action.
“Today’s Growth Plan provides BMF members with some degree of certainty and indicates the direction of travel of the new ministerial team.
“We welcome the cuts in business taxes at a time when BMF members face the cumulative effect of higher raw material, labour, energy, and transport costs.
“We are also looking closely at the moves to ease rules on nutrient neutrality, which have had a direct impact on builders merchants since the ‘Dutch N’ court ruling in Europe prompted revised guidance from Natural England to local authorities advising all planning applications should guard against pollution from nitrates and phosphates.
“As local councils are not approving applications, SME customers of merchants face laying off staff because they cannot resume onsite or begin new projects.
“New housing projects in 74 local authority areas have now been stalled as developers are required to demonstrate nutrient neutrality, delaying the construction of an estimated 114,800 new homes.
“These issues were discussed at BMF Members’ Day last week between merchants and manufacturers to come up with practical solutions on nitrates and phosphates.
“The BMF and others have been lobbying DLUHC and DEFRA ministers to find a way forward so local authorities can grant much-needed planning applications again.
“As Mr Kwarteng said, there is more detail to come, especially on reforming planning permission for new housing, so our hope is that today’s announcement is the first step on the way back to Getting Britain Building Again.”