Builders Merchants Federation urges the government to require late-paying firms to be named and shamed

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The Builders Merchants Federation has urged the government to require late-paying firms to be named and shamed in its first major policy manifesto.

The call for mandatory disclosure of corporate payment practice is outlined in the BMF’s lobbying paper for the next parliament, which was published today.

It is one of a series of steps, outlined in the manifesto, to encourage better co-operation between the government and supply chain.

The BMF states that without enforcement of the Prompt Payment Code, currently a voluntary arrangement with no penalties attached, supply chain firms are unlikely to receive a majority of payments in less than 60 days, twice as long as normally stated terms.

The BMF Manifesto promotes a variety of other ways to get cash flowing through the industry, including a more coherent programme of government schemes to help SMEs to raise finance and extending the federation’s own Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme beyond its initial trial period.

The wide-ranging manifesto also includes ideas on how accelerate new homebuilding, upgrade existing homes and scrap poorly-written regulations that make it harder for BMF members to run their businesses.

On moves to speed up housebuilding, it says there should be a moratorium on new planning initiatives and greater flexibility at a local level on new development taxes

In order to encourage homeowners to improve the thermal performance of existing stock, the BMF calls for less regulatory stick and greater use of carrots, such as lower council tax bands and/or stamp duty rates to reward improved energy efficiency.  

And the BMF urges the government to continue its resistance to European Union efforts to cut VAT on specific energy saving measures and consider lowering to 5% the rate on all domestic refurbishment work.

John Newcomb, managing director of the BMF, said: “This is possibly the first time that the BMF has so clearly set out its view on a range of policies affecting the building materials market and our members.

“The manifesto will back up the BMF’s intensive programme of activity talking to MPs, their departmental officials, key party spokespeople and ministers in the House of Lords as well as local councillors and officers.”

The BMF, which represents 450 firms with a combined annual turnover of £1.2bn, also briefed MPs, including housing minister Kris Hopkins, on current issues facing self- and custom builders prior to a parliamentary debate on the subject last month.