News & Views

BUDGET COULD HAVE GONE FURTHER SAYS BMA

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association has welcomed aspects of the budget which will boost economic confidence but has called the omission of a national retrofit strategydisappointing 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the economic forecast predicts the country will return to pre-Covid levels by middle 2022, with a recovery which will be ‘swifter and more sustained’ than thought.  

Much of the support the chancellor announced for the nation’s finances had been made known by the Treasury in the last few days including the extension of the furlough scheme meaning millions of workers will continue to have 80% of their wages paid until the end of September.

He also supported the housing market with two moves – a new 95% mortgage guarantee provided by Government, and an extension to the current £500,000 stamp duty relief until June 30, and beyond that the threshold will be doubled to £250,000 between June and October. 

But a delivery system for retrofitting the nation’s homes was not included in the budget, despite robust lobbying by the Construction Leadership Council, backed by the BMA and more than 40 other organisations in the construction sector.  

BMA Chief Executive, Tom Reynolds, said: Reducing the energy and water demand of our 27 million homes is crucial to achieving our national environmental targets. 

It was disappointing to see no reference to the National Retrofit Strategy in the budget. It has the potential to unlock hundreds of thousands of jobs and generate an economic stimulus across the country, making a considerable contribution to the ‘levelling up’ agenda.

The stamp duty relief and new mortgage guarantee is great news for the housing market, and BMA members. A large proportion of bathroom improvement works takes place after home moves, so these announcements will keep buoyancy in the sector. 

The focus must now be on ensuring the national retrofit strategy is fully and unequivocally adopted by the Government in the Comprehensive Spending Review in the Autumn, which coincides with COP26.

“The chancellor has made clear, borrowing will be cut from 2023 onwards. He has set the scene on public spending in the future so we need to press for a proper retrofitting plan now.” 

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