Posted 1st November

Industry trade bodies respond to Budget 2018

By KBBDaily on 1st November 2018 - 13:21pm

Yvonne Orgill, CEO, Bathroom Manufacturers Association
“Overall this was a positive budget for business. The income tax changes will give a boost to consumer confidence which could translate into money being spent on home improvements.

“There were also several welcome initiatives for small business, the cuts in business rates, a reduction in the apprentice levy and a refocus of the employment allowance.

“Housing also featured in this budget with extra funds for the Housing Infrastructure Fund and new partnerships with Housing Associations. As we have seen with previous budgets it will take more than government initiatives to make a real difference to the housing market but with the brighter outlook for growth and jobs, things could improve.

“The Chancellor did introduce a tax on plastic. Whilst he chose not to tax plastic cups this time, he announced a new tax on the manufacture and import of plastic packaging that contains less than 30 per cent recycled plastic. This could be significant for many bathroom manufacturer and the selection of materials, re-use and recycling of packaging materials is a topic that we have already raised with our members, and will be focusing on in the future.

“However the elephant in the room remains Brexit and it remains to be seen what impact the Brexit deal will have on the economy, and if the chancellor has done enough to support any aftershocks of a no deal exit.”

 

Richard Hibbert, national chair, Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association
“The Chancellor announced that the era of austerity is finally coming to an end and provided a budget that was big on spending and investment. There were a several bright spots for small business, the cuts in business rate bills, a reduction in the apprentice levy and a refocus of the Employment Allowance.

“Consumers will also feel that they have more money to invest in their homes because both the personal allowance and higher rate threshold for income tax were raised, this has been hailed as a tax cut for 32 million people and should boost consumer confidence.

“Housing received a boost with support for small builders, new partnerships with housing associations and increased funding for the Housing Infrastructure Fund. These measures are all designed to deliver more homes and stimulate the housing market, which will benefit the KBB market but the reality is that they will take a long time to have an impact.

“The new digital tax could be an interesting addition to our countries funds and would help everyone. Overall the Chancellor seems to be trying to instil confidence that the economy is in good shape. However, things can still change over the next five months and it remains a challenge for businesses plan around such uncertainties.”

 

Helen Dickinson, CEO, British Retail Consortium
“The Government has missed a much-needed opportunity to help the retail industry. While we welcome measures to assist smaller retailers, the majority of the UK's 3.1 million retail workers are employed in businesses that will not benefit from today’s business rates announcement.

"If the Government is to truly back business, it must engage in more extensive business rates reform to help all retailers and their employees through this period of transformation. While we welcome the temporary support being given to small businesses, these measures alone are not sufficient to enable a successful reinvention of our high streets.

"Retailers are currently in the midst of a perfect storm of factors – technology changing how people shop, rising public policy costs and softening demand. Rather than tinkering around the edges, struggling high streets require wholesale reform of business rates in order to thrive. The issue remains that the business rates burden is simply too high.

"Retailers welcome the measures announced by the Treasury to invest new funding to boost high streets and town centres and facilitate re-invention to modern and diverse destinations. We await with interest further details of the plans, particularly around how the funding will be targeted, who will eligible and how quickly funds will be made available.

“While the Chancellor’s recent announcement to review the Apprenticeship Levy is positive, retailers need action now before levy funds expire. The Levy is not fit for purpose as retailers are unable to fully utilise funds. Businesses need the lifetime of funds to be extended while standards are finalised and more flexibility to use levy funds to cover the cost of backfilling roles while apprentices are off the job.

"The Budget is a missed opportunity to demonstrate that the government is prepared to work with industry to ensure apprenticeship levy reform is successful.”


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