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THE HERALD FRIDAY JANUARY 13 2017


35 Business


70% of builders report material price hikes


70% OF UK BUILDERS have


seen an increase in material prices due to the depreciation of the pound, new research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has revealed. Sarah McMonagle, Director of


External Affairs at the FMB, said: “Thousands of smaller building firms are grappling with the rising cost of materials caused by the depreciation of sterling since the EU referendum. More than 70% of smaller building firms have experienced increased costs as a result of the weakened currency, with additional increases of 10 to 15% expected as the new year unfolds. “Anecdotally, construction SMEs


are already reporting an increase of 22% in Spanish slate and 20% increase in timber. A quarter of all materials used by the UK construction industry are imported – this is significant and underlines the vulnerability of the


industry to sudden fluctuations in the strength of our currency. “The combined pressure of higher


material prices and the rising cost of skilled labour represents a serious challenge to builders.” McMonagle concluded: “What this


means is that home owners could start to see the cost of their building projects increase. It also means that consumer choice may be reduced as some home owners face having to compromise on aspects of their project due to the fact that certain materials have become too expensive. “Some builders are attempting


to mitigate this by introducing larger contingency funds when pricing for a job, or by stipulating in the contract that the overall contract price will change in the case of material price hikes, making client budgeting more tricky.”


Extra £40m for warm homes CARDIFF will invest an extra


£40m over the next four years to improve the energy efficiency of up to 25,000 homes across Wales and support other green growth initiatives. The funding will be targeted at


households on low incomes or in deprived communities, to help them to heat their homes at a more affordable cost and improving their health and wellbeing. It will also support further green


growth initiatives, building on our energy and carbon saving work to date in the Welsh public sector. The additional money was


announced as part of the Welsh Government’s final Budget 2017-18. A vote on the final Budget will be held in the National Assembly for Wales on January 10, 2017. Cabinet Secretary for Environment


and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “Rising energy costs are a


concern for far too many families and householders during the winter months. Since 2011, we have invested more than £217m in the Welsh Government’s


Warm Homes scheme and improved the energy efficiency of more than 39,000 homes. “I am delighted the additional £40m


announced today will help us to take direct action to reduce peoples’ energy bills and improve the energy efficiency of up to 25,000 more homes as well as supporting innovative green growth measures. This is excellent news for our communities in some of Wales’ most deprived areas this winter. At the same time, we will continue


to work with the Welsh public sector to implement initiatives which enable the sector to reduce budget pressures from their energy bills, as well as making carbon emission savings.” The Welsh Government’s Warm


Homes programme takes a whole- house approach to improving energy efficiency, through such measures as installing insulation, heating controls, replacement boilers and draught proofing. As well as significantly improving


the health of those currently struggling to heat their homes, the Warm Homes scheme also works to reduce energy


emissions and create local jobs and opportunities for local companies in the energy efficiency industry. Through the Green Growth Wales


Programme, the Welsh Government has been supporting the Welsh public sector to save energy, reducing budget pressures from energy bills and reducing carbon emissions, as well as generating renewable energy on the public estate. The Welsh Government funding is repaid from the savings made, and recycled into further projects. Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford


said: “The final Budget 2017-18


provides ambition and stability in uncertain times. This funding will benefit individuals, families and help to strengthen communities across Wales.”


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