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Feb/March 2012



BMF NEWS NEW BMF TACHOGRAPH ANALYSIS SERVICE BMF can now offer you a tachograph analysis service that is both economical and matched to your needs. The service is operated by the BMF's new vehicle and transport advisers Prompt Services. All sizes of companies are covered, from merchants with just a few lorries, to those with larger fleets in multiple branches. All aspects of tachograph analysis are covered as are both digital and analogue tachographs. The service is internet based and the software used can be download or it can be set up for you. Using a smart card reader, the tachograph data is uploaded and reports are sent back to you in less than 48 hours. All common driving rules, infringements and Working Time Directive legislation are covered. Reports are supplied in Adobe PDF format, emailed directly to you. There are no upfront costs to use the system – it is operated on a 'pay-as-you-go' basis. And there are no significant investments in IT hardware or software. The charge is only £0.25 pence per digital download, invoiced on a monthly basis. For more details download the information or contact Peter Matthews on 0207 534 7474 or email

BMF Business News – Feb/March 2012 BMF REORGANISATION The implementation of BMF's new strategy continues, with reductions to subscription rates starting this year as announced. The change to our corporate status, to that of a limited liability mutual society registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965, was effected in mid January. The sale of 15 Soho Square is progressing satisfactorily. A new base in the Midlands is being sought and interviews have now commenced for the post of Managing Director. Behind these changes we are focussing our activities on the services that matter to members. Business support covers a wide range of subjects from legal and commercial advice to security and transport services. We continue to represent members' interests to Government and to regulatory bodies and with regard to developments such as the Green Deal. BMF Training continues to be a key part of what we offer and with more and more members resuming staff training, BMF courses are continually being developed to meet demand. As an example, in-company courses are organised and run at members' premises all over the country. Some 163 training days have been delivered so far this current financial year spanning 30 different course subjects. BMF KITCHEN DESIGN COURSE on 10/11 APRIL BMF BATHROOM DESIGN COURSE on 30 APRIL The Kitchen Design course we held earlier this month was a sell out and due to demand we will hold another 2 day course on 10 & 11 April in Nottingham. Cost is £450 per person for the 2 days. Furthermore a one day Bathroom Design and Sales Course will be held on 30 April in Nottingham. Cost is £225 per person. We expect places will fill quickly so if you are interested please telephone BMF Training on 0207 439 1753 or use the booking form. Both courses show how to prepare plans that the client/customer and the installer can understand and work to and that as a result will lead to a successful installation. Learning how to present the design/plan in a confident and professional manner will almost certainly secure the order and put you one step ahead of the competition. Subjects include: principals of design; the brief; surveying; planning; presentation and the sale. BMF CAMPUS SPECIAL OFFER PRICE HELD FOR ANOTHER YEAR The special £295 Campus price is being held for a further 12 months until March 2013. This exceptional offer is available to BMF members only and gives access to all the 100+ Campus modules for as many of your staff as you wish. BMF Campus offers high quality, fit-for-purpose and cost-effective product learning. Modules are being added and improved all the time. Recent updates have seen 30 new courses added. Over 670 learners have so far been signed up to BMF Campus and the easy administration tools are enabling member companies to put together personalised courses comprising hand picked modules for the individuals concerned. So far some 1,312 courses have been allocated and 687 courses have been completed. Take a look at a typical product module and at an illustrative list of the modules available by clicking You can sign up directly from the Campus website and then register your employees and the courses they wish to take. Alternatively we can set it all up for you. To get started, contact BMF Training on 020 7534 7466 or email

BMF Business News – Feb/March 2012 BMF MERCHANT / SUPPLIER LIAISON MEETING - 8 MARCH 2012 All members are invited to the next Suppliers Liaison meeting. Guest speakers are • Natalie Chapman, Head of Policy for London, Freight Transport Association, who will explain how the Olympic Transport Delivery Programme will affect deliveries into London. • John Tebbit, Industries Affairs Director from the CPA, who will describe changes to the Construction Products Regulations. Venue is the Weston Hall Hotel, Bulkington, Coventry. If you have not already booked please contact Chris Harding on 0207 534 7426 email BMF MASTERMERCHANT 2012 This long running team building competition is being held again this year from 13 to 15 July. Open to both merchant and supplier companies, it involves a series of outward bound type challenges. Venue is the Lake District and more details can be downloaded.

TRANSPORT ROAD AND TRAVEL INFORMATION FOR THE 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES The 2012 London Olympic Games run from 27 July until 12 August and the Paralympic Games from 29 August to 9 September. Journeys and locations in London will be affected at different times. Transport for London has launched a new 'Get Ahead of the Games' website showing travel and delivery hotspots and giving advice for businesses making deliveries and collections See Included is an interactive map showing the impact on travel, details of key affected stations. information on the Olympic Route Network (ORN), the Paralympic Road Network (PRN) and days and times of events. A copy of a TfL Road Freight Briefing is available to download. It is not just London that will be affected. Weymouth and Portland will be hosting the Olympic sailing events and special traffic measures will be in place from 27 July until 12 August. The Dorset for You website now has details of the traffic measures that will be operating in the area during the Olympic Games. There is also a map detailing when and where the measures will apply. Designated pedestrian routes, park and ride sites and cycle parking are among the transport measures to be implemented. A designated Olympic Route Network (ORN) is designed to keep traffic flowing, with some of the roads that make up the A354 in Weymouth becoming a clearway during the Games. See NATIONAL FAIRFUEL DAY- 7 MARCH BMF has been supporting the Fair Fuel Campaign that was instrumental in persuading the Government to abandon vehicle fuel tax increases planned for last year. In response to the rapidly escalating price of fuel, with diesel now reaching record highs and the news that UK is the highest taxed country in Europe for fuel, a National FairFuel Day is being held on 7 March with a mass lobby of Parliament. Government will be called upon to recognise that a significant cut in fuel duty will help the economy and not affect its tax revenues and to cut fuel duty decisively now. For details of the rally outside Parliament on 7 March see:

BMF Business News – Feb/March 2012 CAMPAIGN TO SAVE TRUCKPOL Since the withdrawal of Government funding in April last year, TruckPol, a national police intelligence unit dedicated to fighting road freight crime, has been entirely funded by the private sector. However, unless further funding is found it will not be able to continue to operate. TruckPol costs approximately £120,000 for 12 months. Funding for the next 12 months is due by April and the collective pot of private sector funding is still some £30,000 short of the mark. Fight Freight Crime is a campaign supported by FTA, the Road Haulage Association and Commercial Motor magazine to encourage donations from those in the industry that benefit from TruckPol. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque made payable to Road Transport Media to Road Transport Media, Second Floor, 9 Sutton Court Road, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 4SZ or visit here for more information. NO CHANGE TO EXISTING MOT FREQUENCIES Following a review of the existing arrangements for MOT tests and their frequency, the Government has decided to maintain the current rules. The Government also announced that MOT certificates will be changed so that they carry the last three years’ mileage information and also efforts would be made to improve the reliability and standards of all garages, not just those that conduct MOTs. Hitherto unpublished Vehicle and Operator Services Agency survey data on how the sector is complying with test standards may be viewed at; /fleetcompliancecheckreports.htm.

BUSINESS GOVERNMENT’S SMALL EMPLOYER INCENTIVE SCHEME OF £1,500 We gave details in last month's Business News about the new scheme to help small employers take on an apprentice in the 16 to 24 age group. Called the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE), the scheme commenced on the 1st February 2012. The National Apprenticeship Service will provide up to 40,000 Apprenticeship grants to small medium sized employers recruiting 16 to 24 year olds with a value of £1,500 to encourage new employers to take on new apprentices. • The company must employ less than 250 people • This must be the first time the company has employed an apprentice • The apprentice must be aged between 16 and 24 • Subject to availability an employer can get 3 grants for 3 apprentices • The employer must commit to employ the apprentice for the duration of their training • The employer must commit to pay the apprentice the minimum apprentice wage of £2.60 per hour For more information on how the BMF Apprentice Scheme can assist you and obtain this grant, please contact Nina Royle, BMF Apprentice Training Scheme Co-ordinator at or telephone 0117 904 9377. WELSH BUSINESS RATES REVIEW The Welsh Government has launched an Independent Review of Non Domestic Rates focused on the capacity for Reliefs to incentivise business and encourage growth. The roles of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and Empty Property Rate Relief (EPRR) are being reviewed as mechanisms to encourage growth and provide social and economic stability. Large business

BMF Business News – Feb/March 2012

supplements are not currently planned in Wales; at present the Welsh Assembly Government are constrained in this area by restrictions set out in the Local Government Finance Act 1988. SCOTTISH BUSINESS RATES The Scottish Government confirmed in December 2011 that business rates in Scotland will rise from April 2012, by 5.6% (ie September’s RPI multiplier), The poundage rate will be 45 pence for 2012/13. A deferment scheme will allow businesses the opportunity to spread the inflationary increase in business rates in 2012/13 over three years, and a new business rates incentivisation scheme to encourage councils to attract new economic growth and let them keep a portion of revenue above an agreed level. Separately, the Scottish Government is planning to consult in the first half of 2012 on a fundamental review of the non-domestic rating system in Scotland, to take place prior to the 2015 Revaluation.

EMPLOYMENT INCREASE IN QUALIFYING SERVICE FOR UNFAIR DISMISSAL The Government has confirmed that the planned increase to the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims (from one to two years) will only apply to employees who start employment on or after 6th April 2012. All staff who joined before 6th April 2012 will remain subject to the one year rule. INCREASE TO PARENTAL LEAVE DELAYED The revised EU Directive on Parental Leave, which increases parental leave from its current level of 13 weeks to 18 weeks (unpaid leave) per parent, per child has been delayed. It was due to be implemented in March this year but the Government will take advantage of a one year extension. REPRIEVE FOR THE P45 Following consultation, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has withdrawn plans to introduce a Leaver Statement instead of a P45. The Real Time Information (RTI) Regulations, as originally drafted, introduced the concept of a Leaver Statement for employers to use in place of the P45 when employees moved jobs. RTI aims to improve the PAYE system and is due to come into force in April 2013. It will require employers and pension providers to tell HMRC about tax, NI contributions and other deductions when or before the payments are made, instead of waiting until after the end of the tax year. A 12-month pilot is expected from April 2012. Under RTI, P45s will be given to the employee to take to their next employer and should not be sent to HMRC. Starter and leaver information will be reported by employers as part of their normal RTI submissions. For more information see, PENSION AUTO-ENROLMENT A package of regulations to help employers prepare for automatic enrolment into workplace pensions has been published. Large employers with more than 250 employees will start enrolling their staff from 1 October 2012 as originally announced. However, small businesses have now been given more time to prepare. All existing firms will have enrolled their staff by April 2017, followed by all new employers by February 2018. The level of pension contributions will be phased in to help all parties adjust. Full contributions will have to be paid from 1 October 2016. In addition, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said that employers will

BMF Business News – Feb/March 2012 now have four weeks to tell their workers that they have been automatically enrolled onto a workplace pension scheme, rather than the one week initially planned. COMPANY RETIREMENT POLICY The removal of the Default Retirement Age means that employees can now choose when they want to retire. If you have not reviewed your Company Retirement Policy you should do so now. We have prepared a short briefing which can be downloaded. If you would like assistance in rewriting any or all of your company employment policies the BMF Employment Adviser Kate Russell can help. For her contact details or for information about the BMF Employment First Service please contact Peter Matthews on 0207 534 7474 or email Information and case studies to help employees understand their options is available on the Government advice website, Directgov, at:

HEALTH & SAFETY AMENDMENTS TO RIDDOR Last month the HSE confirmed that from 6 April 2012 subject to Parliamentary approval, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) injury reporting requirement will change to seven days’ incapacitation, instead of three. The day on which the accident happened will not count. The deadline by which an over seven-day injury must be reported will increase to 15 days from the day of the accident. New guidance , including the April 2012 changes, is available at The HSE has also clarified that “incapacitation” means that the worker is absent or is unable to do work that they would reasonably be expected to do as part of their normal work. Employers must still keep a record of all over three-day injuries. If the employer is required to keep an accident book, then this record will be sufficient.

ECONOMIC INDICATORS ECONOMY • The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.5% and increase the quantitative easing programme to £325 billion at their February meeting. • CPI annual inflation decreased to 3.6% in January, down from 4.2% in December. RPI annual inflation decreased to 3.9%, compared with 4.8% in December (ONS figures). • The unemployment rate increased to 8.4% in the three months to December and 2.67 million were unemployed, (ONS). • Average weekly earnings across the whole economy increased by 1.8% in December from a year ago but were broadly unchanged compared with November, according to the ONS. Manufacturing earnings were 1.3% higher year-on-year, whilst in construction, earnings rose by 2.5% from a year ago. • Construction activity reduced by 0.5% and manufacturing output by 0.8%. (ONS) • Manufacturing output increased by 0.8% from a year earlier and was 1% higher than in November(ONS).

BMF Business News – Feb/March 2012 •

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UK manufacturers expect production to rise over the next three months, according to 15% of firms, on balance, However, 3% of manufacturers reported, on balance, that total order books were below a normal level in February, an improvement compared with recent months. (CBI) UK road freight activity contracted during the final quarter of 2011 for the first time in two years - with no anticipated return to growth in the first quarter of 2012 (FTA January 2012 Quarterly Transport Activity Survey) In December, house prices in the UK were broadly flat compared with December 2010 and increased by 0.4% from November, according to the DCLG. The average price of a property was £205,300. In 2011 Q4, public housing starts totalled 4,900 in England, a 5% increase both quarteron-quarter and year-on-year. Public housing completions were 6,900, 19% up on the year and 17% higher than in 2011 Q3. Private housing starts increased to 20,400, 11% higher compared with 2010 Q4 and a 6% rise from 2011 Q3. Private completions were 19,800, an 11% increase from a year ago but contracted by 2% quarter-onquarter. (DCLG) The value of retail sales contracted by 0.3% on a like-for-like basis in January compared with a year ago but increased by 2.1% on a total basis, Overall shop price inflation fell to 1.4% in January from 1.7% in December (British Retail Consortium). Site visitors and net reservations increased in December year-on-year with balances of +16% and +13% respectively, compared to +8% and +11% in November. (Home Builders Federation) NHBC housing registrations totalled around 7,700 in January, 1% higher than in January 2011 and a 55% increase compared with the relative low reached in December 2011. Private sector registrations rose strongly (by 76% month-on-month and 9% yearon-year) to 5,900. At 1,900 public registrations were 12% higher than in December but 19% lower than in January 2011. Overall, completions totalled 6,300, 14% higher than in January 2011 but a 40% reduction compared with December. Gross mortgage lending figures from CML suggest lending in January was 10% higher on an annual basis but reduced by 14% compared with December. In November, average weekly earnings across the whole economy increased by 1.8% year-on-year, In manufacturing, average weekly earnings were 1.7% higher than in November 2010, whilst average weekly earnings in construction rose by 2.1% compared with a year ago (ONS). A copy of the British Retail Consortium Quarterly Trend Analysis is available HERE

CONSTRUCTION • The CPA report in their latest Construction Trade Survey that: * 37% of large and medium sized building contractors, on balance, reported that output in 2011 Q4 was lower than during the same quarter one year earlier. *Manufacturers of light side products benefitted from growth in export sales with 37% of firms, on balance, reporting year-on-year sales growth in Q4. * 14% of heavy side product manufacturers also experienced an annual rise in sales over the period, on balance, although sales reduced compared with Q3. * Enquiries levels to SME contractors were widely reported to be below average, by 30% on balance. * Nearly half of specialist contractors surveyed reported a quarter-on-quarter reduction in orders in Q4. * Materials cost inflation and rising energy prices were the main drivers of strong overall cost inflation in the last three months of 2011. * On balance, 22% of heavy side manufacturers reported a fall in sales compared with 2011 Q3, whilst 22% of light side firms experienced a rise in sales.

BMF Business News – Feb/March 2012

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* Unit costs continued to increase and, in particular, heavy side manufacturers expect the trend to continue in 2012. *A full copy of the CPA Construction Trade Survey is available HERE A copy of the CPA February 2012 Market Trends is available HERE Construction output data for 2011 Q4 includes * Construction output increased by 0.9% year-on-year but contracted by 0.5% compared with 2011 Q3. *Total new work was 1.4% higher year-on-year but 0.6% lower than in 2011 Q3. *Public non-housing output contracted by 15.5% year-on-year and 7.3% quarter-onquarter. * Public housing output fell by 10.8% compared with 2010 Q4 and by 1.0% from 2011 Q3. Similarly, private housing output decreased by 1.1% year-on-year and by 3.5% quarter-on-quarter. * Infrastructure output increased by 23.5% year-on-year and by 4.0% quarter-onquarter. * Output in the private commercial sector rose by 4.5% from 2010 Q4 and by 2.1% from 2011 Q3. * Industrial output declined by 1.4% year-on-year and by 0.7% compared to 2011 Q3. * Public housing repair, maintenance and improvement (RM&I) output fell by 4.4% compared to 2010 Q4 but increased by 1.8% quarter-on-quarter. * Private housing RM&I output contracted by 4.7% year-on-year but rose by 1.8% compared with the previous quarter. * Output in the non-housing repair and maintenance sector expanded by 4.5% year-onyear but declined by 2.1% from 2011 Q3.

BMF SALES INDICATORS – December 2011 Builders Merchants Sales nationally when adjusted for both price inflation & trading day differences were down 2.3% for the three months October 2011 - December 2011 when compared with the same three months in 2010 but were down 15.0% when compared with the preceding three month period July 2011 - September 2011. The 12 month comparison was down by 4.4% over the previous 12 month period and the monthly comparison was down by 2.0% over December last year.

If you would like any further information on any of these news items please contact Peter Matthews on If your email address has changed, or you would like your colleagues to also receive this newsletter, please contact Jon Clay on Every care is taken to ensure accuracy and completeness of the information we give, but the BMF cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused by reliance on this information. Builders Merchants Federation, 15 Soho Square, London W1D 3HL Tel: 0207439 1753


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