In the 21st century, it is no longer enough to talk to Westminster and Whitehall. In England, there is a shift in local government with devolution of functions and responsibility from London. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have parliaments or assemblies, with more powers promised on the way.
England has Combined Authorities and Police & Crime Commissioners. London, Liverpool and Bristol (amongst others) have a directly-elected Mayor. Further devolution is coming with elected Metro-Mayors for big cities as part of City Deals. (pictured L-R: Andy Street, Conservative Mayoral Candidate in Birmingham with BMF MD John Newcomb, and Steve Rotheram, Labour Mayoral Candidate in Liverpool with BMF's Brett Amphlett)
The BMF collaborates with a greater number of partners than ever before in our 108-year existence. This means speaking to (or learning from) a broader range of people and organisations. We forge alliances and conduct joint assignments with other trade associations, property professionals, environmental groups, and think-tanks in pursuit of common objectives.
Occasionally, a story hits the headlines requiring the BMF to react quickly to put our members’ point of view - especially to rebut untrue stories or correct misleading facts. MPs, Peers and others will be given a verbal or written BMF briefing on current policy or an emerging issue.
When a topic is debated in parliament, legislation is considered, or a committee holds an inquiry, we will brief elected members. In cases of line-by-line scrutiny, it can be quite specific in nature.
Examples of briefings given in the last 12 months are:
Politicians say they value this because we are a business & economic voice that speaks for companies in almost every constituency. We rarely stray into policy we know little about.
- building materials - notably on brick supplies and acoustic insulation·
- new homes - notably on self- & custom-building and taxpayer-funded support
- planning permission - notably on use classes, permitted development, pre-commencement conditions, and under-resourced planning departments
- taxation - notably on reduced rates of VAT following a European court case·
- vocational training and skills - notably on the new Apprenticeships’ Levy.
The BMF represents all types of merchants - irrespective of product, turnover or geography. FTSE-listed businesses, mid-sized regionals, and numerous small local independents are members. Manufacturers and specialist suppliers to merchants can also be BMF members.
In addition to our own efforts, the BMF channels its members’ views through other bodies we belong to like the Construction Products Association and the CBI. We are members of the two pan-European builders’ merchants associations, FEST and UFEMAT.
What Are We Doing in Your Region?