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Published on February 25th, 2021 | by The GC Team

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Industry figures call for support in March Budget

British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BIKBBI) CEO Damian Walters has called on Rishi Sunak to kickstart local economies by backing tradespeople and independent retailers in the home improvement industry.

The organisation, which represents thousands of tradespeople and independent retailers, is looking to the Chancellor to “breathe new life” into the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda with a package of  support targeted at tradespeople and small businesses that work in every community in the country.

Walters said the industry offers “secure, skilled work for people from every walk of life while independent showrooms bring vitality to our high streets.”

The Institute’s three-point plan (below) for next week’s budget will help create jobs in every part of the UK, he said.

  1. Stimulate the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom (KBB) market by encouraging people to invest in their homes with a review on a VAT cut targeted at home improvement products and services;
  2. Revive the high street with rates relief for independent KBB showrooms that have had to to close their doors while larger trade suppliers remained open;
  3. Ensure that young people can take up the opportunities of a thriving home improvement industry by investing in skills and vocational training 

John Reddington, Founder of sales agency Big Red Sales, has also urged the Government to act to save industry businesses and jobs, stating that it should “get tough” to save the High Street.

While the electrical retail and KBB industries are intrinsically related, Reddington’s focus, in a letter to the Editor of The Sunday Times published February 14th, concerned the imbalance in levies on bricks & mortar retailers in comparison to their pureplay counterparts. While he praised the controversial proposed tax for online sales as “wonderful news”, he said: “I have sympathy with the Government’s efforts on many fronts, but it must take more action on the decline of our high streets. 

“While our shops struggle under the burden of high rates, rents and fixed costs, the abuse and avoidance of our tax system by businesses such as Amazon is obscene. It is time to get tough.”

BiKBBI’s Damian Walters said: “The Government came into office with the promise of ‘levelling up’ economies in every part of the UK and the pandemic has made it more important than ever that they make good on it. By backing KBB tradespeople and independent businesses next week the Chancellor will show that he is genuinely committed to helping every community to thrive.” 

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