Brett Amphlett: Government proposals must not go unchallenged.
BMF mobilises members to respond to the Green Deal
Published: 17 June, 2011
LONDON: As the Government's Energy Bill edges closer to becoming law, the Builders’ Merchants Federation is working to prevent the interests of members from being damaged in a repeat of the CERT fiasco.
The BMF believes the Green Deal as it currently stands relies too heavily on big corporate names and favours vertically integrated businesses that will dominate the marketplace from the outset with a 'one-stop-shop' approach.
BMF is mobilising members to pull together an industry alternative to the threat posed by energy suppliers and major high street retailers.
The core message is that big corporations cannot be allowed to exclusively provide goods and services – especially through control of independent assessors.
The 'big six' energy suppliers already have a competitive advantage over merchants because they hold information on gas and electricity bill payers. They can mine the data to directly target voters with offers.
In written evidence to Parliament, the BMF argued that legislation must create a wider, deeper and longer market to allow merchants and their trade customers to participate in improving the thermal performance of homes and workplaces. Jobs, sales and growth depend on it becoming a success.
Speaking outside Westminster today, Brett Amphlett, BMF policy manager, explained: "We cannot have the consequences of allowing government proposals to go unchallenged.
"For us, this is all about trying to prevent – or at least, minimise or mitigate – the effects of the usual suspects invading merchant markets. A merchant-led response is imperative if we want an antidote to the continuing threat from vertically-integrated businesses.”
The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has thanked the BMF for its ongoing help in shaping the proposals.
On 10 May, DECC Minister, Greg Barker MP, told the Commons: "I appreciate the way the industry has got involved on this important issue. Voices such as the Builders’ Merchants Federation are essential in helping us to design the Green Deal so that big companies and local SMEs can get involved while at the same time offering strong consumer protection.”
Mr Amphlett concluded: "We urge all members to unite behind our efforts to pull together a merchant-led response. If not, it is unlikely there will be a wide range of providers in the market that ministers say they want – meaning little or no scope for merchants and SME firms to participate.
"We are pressing the Government to decide on what nudges, triggers and incentives it plans to entice voters – especially 'early adopters'. Council Tax and Stamp Duty are often quoted –but we believe 5% VAT is the single most important policy lever to boost Green Deal uptake.”
After the Energy Bill becomes law, there is a huge amount for BMF staff to do over the summer as complex technical and financial details are worked out with Whitehall. The Government will have to come back to Parliament in the autumn with the Secondary Legislation – with the list of prescribed products and measures eligible under the policy.
The BMF said it hopes DECC will make the relevant announcements in time for the BMF Members' Day on 20 September 2011 at the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, near Coventry.