Prime Minister learns the importance of builders’ merchants

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has visited Travis Perkins’ branch in his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip in a fact-finding visit to discover the crucial role builders’ merchants play in the national economy, and how they can support a more sustainable future.

Boris Johnson was given a tour of the Travis Perkins’ branch in South Ruislip to get a strategic and operational understanding of the industry.

Frank Elkins, chief operating officer of Travis Perkins introduced the Prime Minister to branch colleagues, among them, some of the nearly 1,000 apprentices the Group has enrolled on programmes across its portfolio.

Frank said: “As the industry’s leading Apprenticeship and Kickstart placements provider, we outlined how these placements are supporting both the economic recovery, the development of our talent pipeline, but also an opportunity to improve diversity and skills across our industry.

“I was also really proud to showcase how we work with our customers to meet their evolving needs. As a ConstructZero Business Champion with ambitious carbon reduction targets, I explained the role we have in working with customers and suppliers, sharing data and ideas to make progress on the decarbonisation and modernisation of our industry.”

The Prime Minister also discussed the importance of decarbonising buildings and electrifying heating and transport with Frank Elkins and John Newcomb, chief executive officer of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), who also updated him on the Construction Leadership Council’s National Retrofit Strategy.

Boris Johnson also learned about Travis Perkins’ preparation for a time when his government will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel LGVs and HGVs.

The visit was organised by the BMF as part of its industry and parliament programme, to highlight the vital role played by builders’ merchants in the construction supply chain.

John gave the Prime Minister an overview of how its members, perform an essential function in distributing construction materials and home improvement products across the UK, as well as how the industry is actively embracing a more sustainable focus.

John said: “We were delighted to show to the Prime Minister how our members can support a more sustainable future. It was a particularly timely visit, with the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference taking place.

“Low or zero-carbon products are crucial in the building and home improvement industries to drive down emissions. We were able to demonstrate to the Prime Minister that the building supply chain is the most efficient route-to-market for these products.

“BMF members provide the materials, products and expertise needed to de-carbonise our homes. Fitting energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures in properties will be key to achieving sustainability goals.”