JT Dove sends a message to government during visit by MP

Following the General Election, the new government must remember that housing is not built and homes are not improved without the involvement of builders,' plumbers' and timber merchants.

That was the message from independent merchant JT Dove to Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative MP for Berwick Upon Tweed, when she visited the 148-year old business.

Mrs Trevelyan was shown around JT Dove by its managing director, Steve Robinson. Together, they discussed the role, value and importance of merchants in creating local jobs and growth.

Mr Robinson explained how the company is investing in its 17-strong branch network throughout the North East, Cumbria and Scottish Borders. He also raised several key issues facing the construction industry including housing demand and supply, vocational training and skills (especially apprentices), and the consequences of the vote to leave the European Union.

Mr Robinson is also regional chairman of the Builders Merchants' Federation, which represents the interests of merchants and manufacturers with a combined annual worth of £24.6bn. Mrs Trevelyan was particularly interested in the latest BMF economic data, which shows sales figures across the UK in February were up nearly 8% in total, compared to the same time in 2016.

Touring the four-acre site, Mrs Trevelyan said: "I was delighted to visit JT Dove here in the constituency and learn of their contribution to not only rural Northumberland's prosperity, but also the wider North Eastern economy. I pay tribute to branch manager Eddie Burness and his team in helping customers with their building projects.

"Housing and home-ownership are central to my Party's thinking and our work on the Northern Powerhouse. I want to see a modern Industrial Strategy continue to succeed here in the North East. Boosting output and employment, educational achievement, and the quality of life in less-well performing parts of the country, compared to London and the South East, must continue to be our aim."

Concluding the visit, Mr Robinson said: "I was grateful to Anne-Marie for taking time to come today and gain insight into our supply chain. We wanted to show her that builders' merchants create meaningful jobs, at all levels, in every constituency. Apprentices are central to this and we want to see the next Government doing more to redress the parity of esteem between academic and vocational training."