The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) congratulates the newly elected government and acknowledges the democratic decision of the people of the United Kingdom. This election marks a significant moment for our country, and we stand ready to support the government in addressing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

As we move forward and power transitions from blue to red, it is crucial that the new government prioritises support for SME's, particularly those in the trades. SMEs are the backbone of our economy, driving innovation, providing employment, and fostering community growth. As recent years has highlighted, the contribution of professional tradespeople is invaluable, ensuring that homes across the UK are equipped with safe and professionally installed kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms.

We urge the new government to work closely with trade associations like ours to address the challenges faced by tradespeople.

We call for enhanced government support for apprenticeships, which are vital for nurturing the next generation of skilled workers. The UK is amidst a skills crisis, with a significant shortfall of available competent and compliant tradespeople. By investing meaningfully in apprenticeships, we can ensure that young people have the opportunity to develop the skills needed to thrive in the trades, contributing to the overall prosperity of our economy and ensuring we have a sustainable workforce for the future. A fresh look is necessary, not only in the support of training costs, but a holistic approach on how government can support employers to fund the employment of new talent.

BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters said: "Collaboration between the government and trade associations is critical and will drive a robust framework for growth, ensuring that the voices of SMEs are heard and their needs are met. The positive impact of a thriving SME sector cannot be overstated and it is important that government listen to and work with those associations that have industry specific expertise."

We look forward to engaging with Sir Keir Starmer and his team to advance these priorities and to support the continued success of SMEs across the UK.

The Apprenticeship Partner Hannah Hockley explores the big question: What's in it for employers?

In this video, recorded at InstallerSHOW 2024, Hannah explains the many benefits of taking on an apprentice from an employers perspective.

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By Damian Walters, BiKBBI CEO

The General Election here in the UK is today and it got me wondering about what happens to an MP if they lose their seat. So, I found out...

Ok, it's a bit of a geeky question, but in my late forties, I had no idea what happens when serving Members of Parliament lose their seat.

So what happens next?

Well, firstly, their Houses of Parliament security pass will deactivate at 23:59 on 5 July. This means they won't be able to get into Parliament any more.

They've got five days to pack up their offices, say their goodbyes and head out of Westminster.

Will they be paid?

They're given a sum of money called the Winding Up budget. It helps former MPs pay for expenses once their salaries have stopped and covers costs over the next few months.

If they've been an MP for two years or more, they are also entitled to a Loss of Office Payment - which is twice the amount of money they get when they're made redundant - depending on their age and length of service.

...and their staff?

The staff of any MP who has lost their seat will be made redundant. Researchers, campaign officers and assistants will be out of a job after Friday's result.

Does the prime minister have to be an MP?

The process of appointing the prime minister assumes that he or she will sit in the Commons, but there is nothing that says what happens if they cease to be an MP. The prime minister is the King's minister. Precedent suggests that a prime minister should be an MP, but there is no suggestion that they must immediately resign if they lost their seat.

The Cabinet Manual states that the prime minister “always sits in the House of Commons.” However, this mostly relates to the question of whether they should sit in the Commons rather than the House the Lords.

Although prime ministers regularly sat in the House of Lords in the 18th and 19th centuries, governing from the Commons has been convention since 1902. In 1963 Alec Douglas-Home resigned his peerage and entered the Commons via a by-election when he became leader of the Conservatives.

However, prime ministers are expected to be accountable to parliament through Prime Minister’s Questions, delivering statements and appearing in front of the Liaison Committee. It would therefore not be sustainable for a prime minister to stay in office without being an MP indefinitely.

So there you have it...!

BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters looks ahead at next week's InstallerSHOW and shares a few deserves thank you's before the big event in Birmingham.

Watch the video HERE.

Read the full itinerary and book sessions HERE.

In the Spring 2024 issue:

Plus much more!

View online, for free by CLICKING HERE

According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), as of the beginning of 2023, there were 5.5 million small enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, collectively employing 13.1 million individuals—constituting 48 percent of the total workforce. These SMEs generate a turnover of £1.6 trillion, contributing a staggering 36 percent to the UK economy – it’s therefore no wonder the humble ‘white van man’ has been branded the backbone of the UK economy.

Delving deeper into the statistics, the construction sector boasts around three hundred thousand SMEs, employing 2.7 million people nationwide. These enterprises play a pivotal role, contributing 9 percent to the UK's GDP, amounting to approximately £117 billion annually.

However, a shadow looms over the symbiotic relationship between these iconic white vans, their cargoes, and the prosperity of the small businesses they serve.

The proverbial ‘wrench in the machinery’ lies in the rampant levels of equipment theft from commercial vehicles, often left vulnerable to intrusion. This trend thrives due to a profitable and relatively risk-free black market for stolen tools. Its consequences range from disrupting the daily operations of countless tradespeople to potentially tarnishing their professional reputations and jeopardising future prospects.

Unable to fulfil contracts due to missing tools, they face punitive penalties and exorbitant insurance premiums when forced to replace their equipment.

Compounding the issue is the lack of a specific crime classification for such offences. Instances of theft from motor vehicles (TFMV) encompass a broad spectrum, lumping expensive and customised tools with everyday items like laptops and mobile phones in police reports. Consequently, the true scale of the problem remains obscured.

Moreover, police encounter challenges in identifying and returning recovered tools to their rightful owners. Tools seized in unrelated investigations may be scattered across different regions or even overseas, complicating repatriation efforts. Often, unclaimed tools are auctioned off, perpetuating the cycle due to the thriving black market and the absence of repercussions for those involved.

Police may suspect seized tools to be stolen, but without owners stepping forward to claim them, establishing guilt or innocence becomes a matter of conflicting testimonies.

Furthermore, the complicity of tradespeople, the backbone of the UK economy, exacerbates the issue. Their willingness to purchase unmarked equipment with no questions asked perpetuates the trade in stolen tools.

Will the tide turn through legislation?

In recent years, police and the criminal justice system have grappled with the challenge of addressing equipment theft comprehensively, extending beyond prosecution to encompass the entire trade supply chain. Efforts have been directed towards initiatives such as tool marking, secure transportation, and storage to mitigate this pervasive issue.

On June 15, 2022, Conservative backbencher Greg Smith MP (pictured) introduced the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Bill to Parliament. While initially focused on mandating forensic marking for All Terrain Vehicles (quad bikes) used in farming and agriculture, the proposed legislation garnered attention for its broader implications, particularly for highly targeted items like expensive building plant and tools.

Recognising the widespread impact of equipment theft, the scope of the Private Member’s Bill was expanded with government support. It aimed to curb the theft and illicit resale of equipment and tools utilised by tradespeople, agricultural enterprises, and other businesses, aligning with findings from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Mutual Insurance Rural Crime report, which underscored the significant financial losses incurred by customers in 2021.

Greg Smith MP acknowledged the pressing issue of tool theft among tradespeople, soliciting input from industry stakeholders, including the ORIS Forums’ DIY and Building Trade Forum, advocating for stricter penalties for boiler and tool theft. Various practical measures, such as the installation of tool safes and tool marking initiatives, have been proposed by industry experts to combat such thefts. Additionally, independent companies have developed apps to facilitate theft reporting and deter the resale of stolen tools by establishing ownership records.

The Bill successfully cleared its second reading by the end of 2022 and progressed to the committee stage in February of the following year, ultimately receiving Royal Assent. However, discussions persist regarding supplementary legislation pertaining to the compulsory marking of tools and the associated implementation costs. The outcome of these deliberations, informed by ongoing consultations with the Home Office, tool manufacturers, and the retail sector, alongside feedback from industry forums like ORIS Forums and the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), remains pending.

BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters joins the Installer FUTURES Advisory Board, shaping the agenda for Installer SHOW 2024.

The advisory board, comprised of key industry associates, will help to shape the agenda for InstallerFUTURES which takes place on 27th June.

InstallerSHOW is back at the NEC, Birmingham from June 25th to 27th. It’s bigger and better than before, with 50% more space and over 600 exhibitors!

Don’t miss out on the event where 20,000 installers, specifiers, and decision-makers from the heat, water, air, and energy sectors gather. It’s the top spot in the UK for finding new products, networking, connecting with manufacturers, learning from live sessions, and staying updated with industry trends to keep your business ahead of the game.

Read more about the Advisory Board HERE

Get your FREE TICKET to Installer SHOW 2024 HERE

The BiKBBI Annual Awards 2024 celebrated the achievements of those operating within the KBB installation sector. Here's some photographs from the event. All images are copyright protected, The British Institute of KBB Installation (2024).

A short video first played at the BiKBBI Annual Conference 2024, highlighting achievements made on the subject of education by the organisation in 2023.

In this video, Archie, Fitted Furniture Apprentice at Ace Electrical & Plumbing talks about why he chose the KBB industry to start his career.

A short video first played at the BiKBBI Annual Conference 2024, highlighting achievements made by the organisation in 2023 on the subject of compliance.

In this video, Steven Hatfield, Head of Installer Recruitment and Performance at Wren Kitchens talks about how their retail partnwership with BiKBBI supports their commercial objectives.

EDUCATION | STANDARDS | SUSTAINABILITY | COMPLIANCE |