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17th April 2019 Issue no. 453
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Tradesmen and Screwfix visit treasury for talks on how to improve small business growth
Late last month a group of Screwfix's 'Top Tradesmen' travelled to Number 11 to meet with Chancellor George Osborne to discuss how the current picture for UK tradesmen was looking and what else could be done to encourage further business growth across their sectors.
As 2014's national finalists and winner of the annual search for 'Britain's Top Tradesmen' by Screwfix, the tradesmen were delighted to have the opportunity to share their thoughts on how to keep business booming.
For booming it appears to be... According to the latest Trade Pulse report released by Screwfix, the significant majority (82%) of plumbers, electricians, builders, carpenters and other tradesmen questioned say they are already working and are confident they will continue to see work come in over the next 12 months - with optimism that the current boost in business is becoming the 'norm' rather than the 'exception.'
This compares favourably against the same time last year when only 76% of the tradesmen questioned felt this way. The monthly index also reveals that the number without work has dropped to 4%, compared to 7% only a year ago.
Raymond McKnight, a plumber and winner of 2014's Britain's Top Tradesmen, comments: "Last year was a busy year for me and I expect this was the case for many other tradesmen as well. It was a great opportunity to be invited to meet with the Chancellor and to talk about our thoughts on what might help small businesses to remain successful in 2015 and beyond.
"I know that there have already been some initiatives put in place which have helped us over the last couple of years, but I think there is more which could be done which would make it easier for small businesses to remain successful."
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said of the visit: "It's been great to welcome some of the finalists of the Britain's Top Tradesmen competition, run by Screwfix, to Downing Street today. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and hearing tradesmen talk positively about the last year, and look ahead to 2015 with optimism, is further evidence that our long term economic plan is working.
"This government is backing businesses of all sizes and giving them every opportunity to grow and create jobs. That's why we are reducing the burden of business rates, improving access to finance, and have introduced a new Employment Allowance - a £2,000 cash back on jobs for companies across the country. But we can always do more, and that's why I wanted to meet with the Top Tradesmen today - to congratulate them on their success, and to hear what else we can do to back our small businesses."
Andrew Livingston, CEO of Screwfix, accompanied the tradesmen on their visit. "We talk to our tradesmen on a daily basis, and it's great to see that business is good for them at the moment," he says. "As a key supplier to the trade we welcomed the opportunity to meet the Chancellor, with a group of Britain's top tradesmen, so they could discuss their businesses and provide suggestions on what else could be done.
"Many of our customers are busier than ever right now and it's important that we work closely with the wider industry and Government to consider new ways to help them maintain this momentum."
Last year Screwfix created 900 new jobs and it plans to open more than 50 new stores across the UK and create a further 900 new jobs in 2015 - The focus is on providing more staff, in more stores to better support busy tradesmen across the UK.
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11th February 2015