Damian Walters, CEO of the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BIKBBI) has commented on the Spring Budget, delivered by the Chancellor this week.
Damian Walters said: “The fact that the UK will narrowly avoid falling into a technical recession was good news from the Chancellor but a look at the forecasts published alongside his statement show that we are still set for tough economic times. Growth, while up a little on previous forecasts, is going to remain sluggish and the tax burden will stay at an all-time high – squeezing people’s living standards. This means that KBB installers can’t take the recent high level of demand from consumers for granted – people are being faced with tough choices about how best to spend their money.
“Confirmation of the rise in corporation tax was also unhelpful but the new ability to expense capital expenditure against taxable profits is something to welcome. As things stand it is only set to last for three years, giving installers a short window to invest in new equipment. This makes the next three years a good time to upgrade and replace tools and vehicles, helping to deliver the level of service that cash-careful consumers are looking for.
“There were also a few shards of light when it comes to solving the skills gap crisis in KBB installation. We’ve long known that the supply of skilled installers is declining, opening the door to poorly qualified cowboys taking advantage of consumer demand. The measures announced in the budget to encourage more people to enter the labour market could help with this – particularly as BIKBBI has a readymade route of access through our ground-breaking apprenticeship programme. We’ll need to look carefully at the details but the announcement of a ‘returnership’ version of apprenticeships for over 50s could provide an opportunity for people with life experience to develop new skills and come into KBB installation. Likewise, the news that Investment Zones will have powers to incentivise apprenticeships could give a boost to installer businesses in those areas.”
EDUCATION | STANDARDS | SUSTAINABILITY | COMPLIANCE |