2016 Budget: The BMF comments

Published:  17 March, 2016

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, gave his Budget Statement to Parliament yesterday (16 March) and John Newcomb, managing director for the Builders’ Merchants Federation (BMF), gives his initial reaction to those aspects most directly relevant to Federation members.

Mr Newcomb makes a point of noting that, unlike previous announcements, Mr Osborne did not concentrate on changes aimed at housing and the home improvement trade. However, for most BMF businesses, specific tax changes ought to help both merchants and their trade customers. Mr Newcomb states that future cuts in corporation tax and abolishing national insurance contributions for the self-employed are very welcome.

He said: “Stories in recent newspapers hinted at an impending rise in Road Fuel Duty but thankfully Mr Osborne has resisted the temptation and decided to freeze the main rates for another year. This is good news and we thank him for doing so. Easing the rules on capital allowances and a promise to look again at qualifying energy-efficiency and water-saving technologies will also be welcomed by the businesses we represent.”

Mr Newcomb is pleased to say that switching the annual indexation from RPI to CPI, moving to more frequent revaluations, and further administrative simplification are positive steps on the way to fundamental reform of the rating system. He said: “Mr Osborne still has a major change to make regarding his treatment of firms that invest in plant and machinery. He wants them to modernise and be more productive but manufacturers are penalised because their investment is reflected immediately in the rateable value of premises. This cannot be right.

“The Chancellor reaffirmed his wish to simplify and speed up planning permission to increase housing completions and at a faster rate. With the Housing and Planning Bill currently before parliament, we are lobbying ministers to maintain the momentum to narrow the gap between housing demand & supply. More supply-side efforts are crucial to shorten the time it takes builders to start onsite and accelerate the number of homes completed.”

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