While the Help to Buy Scheme aims to reinvigorate the housing market, cowboy tradesman will take advantage of the industry boost. Charlie Mullins explains why we should be following the US example, and license tradespeople.
We’ve had plenty of time to digest the contents of the Chancellor’s Budget and I don’t think there was too much that caught in the throat of business owners.
To be honest, I think Osborne did well with what he had. I certainly wouldn’t want to play Bridge with him! He had a fistful of small trumps when he stood up at the dispatch box and he played them very well.
Among them was the Employment Allowance, which caught most people by surprise. This allowance, for those who’ve been living under a rock since last Wednesday, saves businesses £2,000 on their Employers’ National Insurance Bill.
For small firms, this could mean the difference between being able to hire someone or not. For a small business owner thinking of taking on their first employee, a huge barrier has been removed.
There was also the introduction of the Help to Buy Scheme, which was at the core of the chancellor’s plans to kick-start the economy through the housing market.
The Help to Buy Scheme will reinvigorate the housing market, which will help the construction industry and the associated trades not only through new builds, but the refurbishment and repairs required when moving in or preparing to sell your home.
As someone in the home improvement business, I believe these two Budget measures are indelibly linked.
If everything goes the Chancellor’s way, home building will increase, as will the level of refurbishment and upgrade work on properties that need to be made ready to enter the housing market.
This will mean more work for tradespeople, which, on first glance, is a fantastic thing. Small, one-man-band firms can grow with the help of the Employment Allowance to help meet the needs of the housing industry and the home buyers’ market.
However, there is a warning to be heeded. As the amount of work available increases, so do the dangers of cowboy tradesmen.
At Pimlico Plumbers, we’ve worked incredibly hard to establish an excellent reputation, which has played a part in driving out cowboy contractors by raising the standards of work delivered.
In some cases, it’s not as easy to be sure you’re getting a quality tradesperson and this needs to addressed once and for all.
I've been talking to a few Americans lately, some in the same business as me, and some just everyday people, who use plumbers and electricians from time to time.
The most interesting thing they all tell me is how, in most US states, plumbers and electricians are licensed by the government. No license, no work; that's the deal, and everyone knows how the system works. So much so that they are horrified to hear that the UK - a country considered to be on par with them - has no such system and the public are placed at risk from all sorts of cowboy tradesmen and their shoddy, dangerous work.
We normally follow the US, but they have had this system for years.
I'm wondering, especially if the Chancellor’s Budget measures have the desired effect, how much longer we will have to wait before we wake up and get this system established in the UK?
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