Clearview South January 2014 - Issue 146 - Page 4

FROMTHEEDITOR HAPPY NEW YEAR I hope you got chance to enjoy the festivities and hopefully some well-deserved rest and have returned to work feeling positive and refreshed. And there would certainly seem to be good reason to enter into this New Year with a certain degree of optimism. Take a look at our 2014 Predictions feature, for example, that begins on page 28 with latest research from the FSB reporting increasing optimism for a positive economic outlook among its small business members, citing easier access to finance as being the key driver to growth this year. Despite a very mixed Autumn Statement from the Chancellor towards the end of last year that contained both positives and negatives for businesses and industry, which the GGF discusses in more detail below, the Emplas State of the Market Report on page 31 still puts energy efficiency as the foundation of growth. On page 29 Distinction Door’s new marketing manager, Chantel Roach, speaks to Clearview about her appointment to the role and what the recent reshuffle means for the direction of the company as we head into 2014, kicking off by going back to the company’s roots of GRP insulated door panel supplier. Looking now to conservatories and David Fennings tells us on page 52 that the conditions appear to be set for 2014 to see the welcome return of the traditional conservatory after somewhat of a decline, particularly for the replacement of older conservatories with more modern thermally efficient materials. Now over to Europe and towards the end of last year Roto hosted its 8th International Trade Press Day in Brussels, Belgium with Clearview in attendance. On page 60 the company gives its evaluation of 2013 and forecast for the year ahead, predicting that residential construction in the UK will contribute to industry recovery. Sticking with the feel good factor for this issue, we congratulate the worthy winners and nominees of the G13 Awards that took place towards the end of last year in our review that begins on page 24. And finally, if you are still a bit unsure about making the transition to certified installer ahead of the June deadline, FENSA will be conducting a series of informative webinars through January as well as hosting Q&A sessions on Twitter through till March. See page 38 for more details. All the very best for the year ahead. Becky Taylor, Editor. UNDERWHELMED BY AUTUMN STATEMENT The GGF welcomed some of the announcements in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement but were concerned that several key issues were not being fully addressed to help GGF Members and the wider industry. In conjunction with political engagement firm GK Strategy’s analysis, the positives identified were: • Petrol taxes to stay frozen - a planned rise of 2p per litre for next year is to be cancelled • Business rates in England to be capped at 2% rather than linked to RPI inflation, with some retail premises in England to get a discount. Businesses moving into vacant high-street properties will have their rates cut by 50% • Energy efficiency grants linked to stamp duty 4 JAN 2014 • Private landlords’ support to improve the energy efficiency of their premises • An additional 20,000 apprenticeships are to be funded over the next two years • The abolition of employers’ National Insurance Contributions for under 21s will mean it will be cheaper to employ young people • The initiatives to increase house building as the Government hopes £1bn in loans will boost housing developments in Manchester and Leeds, among other sites • Councils to sell off the most expensive social housing and rundown urban housing estates to be regenerated, which will mean more funding for refurbishment work in the social housing sector • Export finance capacity available to support British businesses will be doubled to £50bn Nigel Rees, GGF Group Chief Executive commented. “There are many reasons for optimism following the Chancellor’s announcements, but we are concerned that several key issues were simply not addressed. It’s unclear, for example, how the Government will fund the installation of vital energy efficiency products in the homes of people currently living in fuel poverty and who will be disproportionately impacted by a reduction in ECO (Energy Company Obligation). ECO is the one green initiative that seems to be working and diminishing the scheme is counter-productive for all concerned.” Giles Willson, GGF Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Technical Affairs added, “I am pleased to see a boost for companies who are employing or looking to employ young people. However, the Government has yet again missed the big opportunity to tackle the issue of reducing the VAT from 20% to 5% on energy efficient windows.” To read the full Autumn Statement visit uk/government/topical-events/ autumn-statement-2013/about To read more, visit