Clearview South July 2014 - Issue 152 - Page 8

INDUSTRYNEWS CPA members called it right - but what next for the economy? CPA Director Jeremy Brett updates us on the Consumer Protection Association’s upcoming annual barometer; and the economy in general. After 21 years in business, the Consumer Protection Association (CPA) has seen a number of changes, not just in industry but in the country as a whole. Four prime ministers and six World Cups have passed; all promised much but ended up delivering little. Each year has offered up different challenges, particular to that time and the period has also seen the UK economy battered by two major recessions. It was the 2008 crash that prompted us to commission Insight Data to research and publish the industry’s biggestever poll of installers; asking questions not just about products but sentiment surrounding the economy. More than 12,000 installers were polled in the survey sent out in September 2013. We wanted to find out what installers thought about the future prospects for our industry and the country. ‘They called it right’ Despite a lack of confidence penetrating many sectors in the UK - including parts of the glazing sector - at the time the survey was released, those polled were upbeat and overwhelmingly voted to say that they felt things would improve, confidence would return, order values and volumes would increase. They called it right. CPA members and the majority of installers foresaw the improving 8 JUL 2014 conditions we are seeing today. Some 62.5 per cent said they believed sales would increase in 2014, compared to last year and 56 per cent said they felt the UK economy would improve. This was their sentiment but what has been the reality? From talking with members their hunch wasn’t just correct about the economy as a whole, but also for their businesses. ‘From talking with members their hunch wasn’t just correct about the economy as a whole, but also for their businesses’ Ourmembers are telling us that they are in a better position this year compared to last, with sales and profits up and hiring intentions improving. To nail down this data and find out projections for next year and beyond, however, we will soon be releasing our next installer barometer. It will be interesting to see what this reveals and if optimism increases or decreases. Because there are still some concerns about the economy, with some commentators stating that the upturn is being fuelled by more, cheap consumer credit and schemes that have injected life such as help to buy are not sustainable. There are also concerns about housing shortages, employment contracts, our trade deficit, interest rates and the balance of power and production between England’s South East and the rest of the UK. We need to be sure we’re not just kicking a dented can a little further down the road. And what would a change of government mean for the economy and our industry? These are all questions we’ll be asking in our upcoming survey, that is going to be even more comprehensive and detailed. At the CPA we feel there are still levers to be pulled to improve our industry and create more opportunities for installers. VAT & HOME IMPROVEMENTS For example, we support a campaign to remove VAT on home improvement products. The economy has been jumpstarted through building and construction but what about the home improvement market? If you knock down a house and start again you don’t pay VAT but if you want to improve your home, you do. This makes no sense – how is this good for the environment and how does it work alongside government’s drive to improve the UK’s housing stock? Let us remember that VAT is an invented tax and a removal of it on home improvement products would not only see an increase in work available for installers but also help to drive out the black market. We remain optimistic. Mergers and acquisition activity in our industry underlines this and despite concerns about longevity we feel confident that the UK economy is out of the worst. But certain processes may never be the same again. ‘despite concerns about longevity we feel confident that the UK economy is out of the worst. But certain processes may never be the same again’ The consumer buying cycle is now more robust and the ‘wow’ factor from installers is more important than ever - its value cannot be underestimated. Doing things as they have always been done is a risky strategy and teaming up the CPA, utilising our 21 years of experience is one way of ensuring installers are one step ahead, shaky economy or not. Email: info@thecpa.co.uk To read more, visit www.clearview-uk.com