The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has written to each of the major political parties in the run up to the general election asking them to commit to supporting Britain’s builders’ merchant industry in their manifesto.

In particular, the BMF wants to see action in three crucial areas:

  • Action on air quality – where it believes the current government’s air quality proposals, released last Friday (5 May), missed a golden opportunity to modernise the use of larger vehicles in cities
  • Progress towards a custom agreement based on low or zero tariffs after Britain leaves the European Union
  • A commitment to ensure that the construction industry has skilled people in place to keep Britain building.

John Newcomb, managing director of the BMF, said: “These three policies are supported by BMF members and it is vital that they are implemented by the next government.

“Unlike private motorists, merchants have no choice but to use commercial diesel vehicles to deliver to customers. We are asking the next government to support SMEs with a diesel vehicle scrappage scheme to modernise and replace old lorries, trucks and vans with cleaner, greener models in order to improve air quality.

“Leaving the Customs Union without a comprehensive UK-EU free trade agreement will unsettle business confidence and planned investments, with severe consequences for merchants and building materials manufacturers. We are asking all parties to commit to negotiating a mutually-beneficial new customs agreement based on zero or low tariffs to avoid uncertainty for affected businesses.”

Mr Newcomb continued: “BMF members create meaningful jobs in every constituency. More apprentices are central to this and more needs to be done to redress the parity of esteem between academic and vocational training. We are asking all parties to commit to improving technical education, and to work with schools and parents to promote our industry, and others like it, to young adults who are not considering university.”