We obviously struck a nerve. CITB chief executive Peter Lobban came, listened and accepted that the CITB had not appreciated the woodworking sector's needs. Since then, the BWF has worked with a member of the national specialist team to improve the CITB's understanding of the sector, develop an action plan to improve training opportunities for bench joinery and ensure that our registered members get the maximum benefit for their levy.
The progress has been such that last month Peter Lobban was able to tell BWF members that for every £1 they paid in levy, they now receive £3.75 back in grant – the highest rate of return for any federation. The regulations for the exemption for automated, off-site manufactured joinery, to which Bingham referred, have also been amended.
Shouldn't it have been like this before? Unquestionably. But surely the point now is it's not where you start from, it's where you finish that counts.
Richard Lambert, director, British Woodworking Federation, via email