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'Cut VAT on home improvements to boost economy', says FMB

THE Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is calling for the Government to cut the VAT on home improvement work following official data from the ONS published today.

While there has been a rise in output over the first quarter of the year, construction output decreased month-on-month by 1.9% and the repair and maintenance series fell to its lowest level since December 2018, experiencing a fall of 3.1% compared to the previous month. 

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “It’s not at all surprising that construction output has dropped at the end of the first quarter of this year, given the unprecedented political uncertainty we’ve been facing. To get us through these turbulent times, the Government must be bold in its thinking when it comes to supporting the economy bucking any downward turn. One course of action would be to cut VAT on work in the home improvement and private domestic sectors from 20% to 5%”

“A cut in VAT would help stimulate demand from homeowners resulting in more work for the thousands of small to medium-sized construction companies which would help support local economies and increase training opportunities. This is all the more important given that the FMB’s own State of Trade Survey for Q1 2019 saw the first dip in workloads for small builders in six years."

Berry concluded: “Cutting VAT would also be an important step to help encourage more retrofits of our existing buildings to make them more energy efficient and deliver a cut in carbon emissions.”

DIY SOS calls upon local construction industry to help transform young carers’ centre in Blackpool

DIY SOS Trades Day’ Event on Wednesday 8th June 2016 hopes to galvanise support from businesses and volunteer trades for DIY SOS, BBC Children in Need special

BBC television’s most popular building series, presented by Nick Knowles, DIY SOS: The Big Build, is attempting to take on one of its most ambitious and heartfelt projects to date and needs the help of businesses and volunteer tradespeople from the greater Blackpool area of Lancashire.

The BBC One TV programme, DIY SOS The Big Build, Children in Need Special is preparing to transform a young carers centre from a run-down, neglected Victorian house, to a fun, safe and supportive environment where young carers are able to enjoy their childhood. The project is being designed by Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen, who was himself a young carer and will raise money for Children in Need projects across the country. To achieve this ambition the programme is seeking donations of materials as well as help from tradespeople including; electricians, plumbers, carpenters, plasterers, decorators and landscape gardeners who may be able to offer support.

 DIY SOS, build manager, Mark Millar is hosting an all-day event on Wednesday 8th June 2016 at Blenheim House, Blackpool and inviting tradespeople and businesses to assess the task at hand and find out how they can contribute by volunteering as a trade or by donating materials.  The upcoming build dates are: Tuesday 28 June until Thursday 7 July 2016 and will help make a difference to Blackpool Carers, a charity which provides emotional and practical support to young carers, some as young as five.

Nick Knowles, presenter of BBC One’s DIY SOS, said: “We’re so excited to be coming to Blackpool to renovate Blenheim House for some of the most important un-sung heroes of the community – young carers. We know this build will be no mean feat, but these young people are worth it. From skips to bricks, paint to plasterboard and anything in between, we urge businesses to come along to the event and pledge to help in any way they can. Ultimately we hope to change the lives of these young people and deliver the safe and calm environment they deserve – but we can’t do it alone. We need the help of local trades and suppliers.”  

Michelle Smith, CEO at Blackpool Carers Centre added: “Although we are incredibly fortunate to have been provided with such a great base from which to reach out to more carers and respond to need, it is currently in no fit state to host services for those children and young people who have caring roles.

We would love to be able to provide support and respite in a safe, clean, stimulating environment. This would enable the young carers to not only enjoy their well-deserved childhood, but also have a much better chance of a brighter future.

We are delighted to have the support from DIY SOS and would appeal for others to help them, help us achieve our dream.”

Those interested in attending the Trades Day on Wednesday 8th June ahead of the build MUST contact Lucy Jones BEFORE HAND for further information by emailing: [email protected].

Amtech, a new face of DIY

Ishan Kalra - Director, DK Tools

We have seen many changes in the DIY market over the years, but more recently there has been a notable shift among consumers that we have adapted to in order to succeed and help our retailers remain competitive in the industry.

Consumer behaviour and their expectations of DIY brands have changed, which is being fuelled by the new and connected world that's always switched on. The customer now has a wealth of information at their fingertips online and they expect brands to provide them with a new level of support, advice and guidance.

This is particularly prevalent in the DIY market, where the generational gap in skills and know how continues to grow and when you consider most DIYers under the age of 45 feel they lack the necessary skills to undertake a DIY task.

We believe this change in dynamics coupled with the growing DIY skills gap has created a new type of DIY consumer that requires more from a brand, beyond great products at great prices alone. They want a DIY brand that connects with them and offers the new level of service they need.

We decided to seize upon this opportunity in the market by significantly enhancing the value we offer through our Amtech brand and thus created a new face of DIY. The new Amtech brand continues to offer great products at great prices, but now with a more advanced and dedicated support service.

We're providing our Amtech retailers with the tools they need to engage and nurture their customers further. In doing so, we're enhancing the consumer's DIY shopping experience, and helping to build stronger relationships with consumers, which should result in happy, loyal, returning customers and more sales for the retailer.

The new Amtech brand and visual identity is now more friendly, approachable and supportive to consumers. It offers the greater level of support, advice and guidance they require throughout the lifetime of a purchase, before, during and after-sale.

This methodology has been implemented from the very start with the new Amtech packaging that's modern and bold in design. It engages with the consumer in a clear and concise manner, right from the second they see the Amtech products at point of sale.

The ‘jump off the shelf’ standout design, engaging speech bubbles describing exactly what the product is and easy to understand product benefits, help to simplify the purchasing decision for the consumer and give them the confidence they need to choose the right product for a DIY project. Furthermore, all of our Amtech products come with a three year product warranty, providing long term reassurance and peace of mind to the consumer.

After-sale, the Amtech brand continues to engage and connect with consumers through our friendly, approachable and expert advice service.

This new and personalised service provides consumers with all the DIY support and know how they need throughout the life of their DIY projects. The dedicated service is available online through the Amtech website or customers can speak directly to an Amtech DIY expert over the phone.

The support service is also accessible to retailers, helping them answer any customer questions that may arise from the shop floor about Amtech products and improving the DIY service they offer to help retain customers for the long term.

By acting upon the changes we're seeing in the DIY market, we hope the new Amtech will lead the way. We feel that combining Amtech's range of quality and affordable products with a new level of personalised, expert and friendly support will ensure we remain at the forefront of the DIY industry. After all, happy customers, mean loyal customers, which means repeat business.


Ray® Has Arrived: The Innovative Tool That Guarantees a Perfect Seal Everytime

BATOIDEA LIMITED, has announced today the official trade launch of the Ray®, an effortless sealant finishing tool that seals, smooths and removes silicone residue in a single pass, producing a perfect finished seal every time.

The Ray® is proving to be an indispensable addition to plumbers, builders and DIY enthusiasts tool-kit.  The time saving device helps reduce product wastage and gives users the confidence to create the perfect finishing touch when working with all types of silicone, fillers and putty. 

 “We set out to design and develop a simple, easy to use and capable finishing tool to solve the frustrations faced by tradesmen and DIYers when it comes to tackling a sealant job.” says Roger Morley, Inventor and Founder of Ray®.  “We are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response so far from both retailers and users and we are looking forward to making the product as widely accessible as possible across the major DIY stores, builders merchants and garden centres.”

The Ray® is indeed a remarkably simple, but clever little device that takes on the challenge of creating a perfect finished seal.  Made from a single piece of moulded polypropylene with two wings sprung from the central body which converge at the surface of a joint.  When passed along the seal, the Ray® simultaneously cuts away and collects the residual material, whilst smoothing the surface of the silicone for a beautiful, clean, mess free finish.

The Ray® tool’s genius design and simple shaping is the secret to its successful application every time.

  • Convex smoothing edge which denotes the seal shape and width.
  • Tapered blade edge, profiled for efficient material removal.
  • Thumb locator for convenience.
  • Tensioned hinge to maintain regulated pressure against the respective interfacing surfaces.

Designed and manufactured in the UK, the Ray® tool guarantees an accurate seal with no mess.  The Ray® has proven to be a popular little gadget amongst both tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts and retailing at £4.95, the price is both affordable and accessible for amateurs and professionals alike.

"After many years of struggling unsuccessfully with silicon sealants and various methods of smoothing the bead, I purchased this simple little tool. I could not believe how easy it was to use. Giving a perfect bead first time, every time. It is as simple as the video demo illustrates.”    Ian Price – November 2015

Ray® is designed and manufactured in Great Britain by Batoidea Ltd. Each pack contains two width sizes per pack, including a 4mm blue Ray® and a 6mm black Ray®. Ray® also comes available to buy in CDUs for shelf or till display and handy clip strips for convenient shelf hanging display in store.

For full instructions on how to use Ray® tool please visit

Portable Clamps from Plasplugs-Perfect for DIY'ERS

Respected DIY brand, Plasplugs, now rejuvenated by QEP, has introduced a portable vice into its product range, providing a simple, but clever solution for DIY tasks which need clamping, but do not warrant a full scale vice.  The new Plasplugs Handi Vice has been proven to enable consumers to complete tasks up to three times faster than with a conventional work bench vice – as well as being exceptionally convenient and easy to use.

The Handi Vice is a portable clamp that can be fitted securely to the edge of any surface, whether at home or on the move.   Easily fixed into place, the Handi Vice has a strong rubber grip, ideal for holding a wide range of materials in position such as trims, pipes, timber and tiles for cutting or drilling.

This unique, patented concept, allows the user to keep both hands free whilst retaining a strong grip on the task.   Being much smaller and considerably lighter in weight than traditional work bench style vices, or heavy-duty clamps, the Handi Vice is easily transported and can be stored conveniently in the home or vehicle rather than a garage or shed.  The Handi Vice’s durable design has an adjustable hinge, up to 60mm, to accommodate varying thicknesses of materials or pipe diameters. 

Marketed by QEP, the worldwide provider of innovative, quality and value-driven flooring and industrial solutions, the Plasplugs Handi Vice has a list price of £12.49.  Already nominated by the DIY trade as one of the new season’s best innovations, it offers the retailer an easy incremental sale. 

For more information, please visit

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