Industry reacts to Autumn Statement

Autumn StamentThe industry has had mixed reaction to the Chancellor’s, George Osborne, Autumn Statement. The knock-on effect of the slashing of Stamp Duty for the industry has been received well, but the future of apprenticeships has caused a mixed reaction.

John Mewett, marketing director of Plumbfix, said: “As a trade supplier, we welcome some of the Autumn Statement announcements. The latest research we have conducted across UK tradesmen shows they are busier than ever, so the changes to Stamp Duty which will inevitably help to boost the housing market, will help to keep tradesmen’s diaries full well into 2015.

“We also noted the abolition of National Insurance contributions by employers taking on apprentices. This will surely be welcome news to qualified plumbers looking to take on and train new apprentices, positive news at a time when the construction industry is experiencing growth.

“The freeze on fuel duty will also help us as a supplier, to make sure our deliveries continue to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, and our trade customers, many of whom rely on their vehicles to get from job to job will definitely benefit from this.”

BEAMA’s independent campaign, Ask for Underfloor, has welcomed the statement’s reduction of stamp duty for 98% of homeowners.

Colin Timmins, of BEAMA Underfloor, said: “The slashing of stamp duty is not only a win for homeowners, but it is also promises to be a huge boost for the construction and renovation industry. When people move into a new home, they spend time and money doing it up, making improvements and putting their own mark on it – and our research shows that underfloor heating (UFH) is one of the most desirable features that homeowners want.

“Further research by one of our members, Continental Underfloor, reveals UFH is going to be a key feature for 2015. A third of house hunters want UFH in all or some rooms and a fifth want it in key rooms such as the bedroom, or – a five per cent increase compared to statistics in January 2014. It’s no surprise that UFH is rising in popularity – it’s widely seen as one of the most efficient ways of heating the home and can help homeowners reduce their energy bills, especially when used with smart heating controls.

“The stamp duty reforms should lead to more movement in the property market, which in turn will result in more home improvements. This is great news for both the Ask for Underfloor members and installers around the UK, and we now urge the public to ensure they find reputable companies with tried and tested systems and products when planning and carrying out work in their new properties.”

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) has highlighted that from April 2016 the government will make it cheaper for employers to take on an apprentice by abolishing employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices aged under-25.

Kevin Wellman, chief executive officer for CIPHE, said: “Clearly, this is going to be very beneficial for employers and apprentices. When you look at the savings an employer will make over a three-year period, it’s quite substantial. It will also encourage more employers who were doubtful about taking on an apprentice to take that first step.