The Builders' Merchants Federation (BMF) has said that Business Minister Michael Fallon MP’s recent announcement is indeed only the start.

The Minister recently announced the beginning of a pilot exercise to enable small builders and construction businesses to obtain non-bank lending from B&Q and Screwfix, as trade credit under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme.

BMF believes that the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills is blind to the fact that builders’ merchants are already bankers to the trade. As such, they offer the simplest, most effective route for the Government to reach small builders and allied trades who are desperate to obtain such credit.

Commenting on the announcement, Peter Matthews, federation secretary, said: “As the Minister announced, the pilot is not exclusive to any one company. It is open to all trade credit providers across the range of business sectors and the Government will be inviting other companies to take part. Michael Fallon can rest assured the BMF will soon be knocking on his door wanting to talk to him about exploring options for BMF members to run a similar exercise.

“The BMF is pleased that the Minister has said out loud what merchants have been saying for some time. Namely that builders and tradesmen are experiencing a real bottleneck when it comes to accessing credit - and projects are being held up unnecessarily.”

BMF has repeatedly told politicians that improved availability of finance for businesses is essential for a construction-based economic recovery, led by private enterprise.