Wolseley lends its weight to campaign

Wolseley UK is the latest business to lend its backing to the Get Britain Building (GBB) campaign. Get Britain Building – launched in February 2009 – is a pan-construction industry campaign determined to get politicians of all parties to recognise the value of the sector to the nation and to use it to rebuild the UK economy.

Latest recruit Wolseley UK – which trades under the Build Center, Plumb Center, BCG, Encon and William Wilson merchant and distribution brands, among others – officially joined the campaign at the end November. It is the UK operating subsidiary of Wolseley PLC. With a turnover of around £1.6bn, it is Britain’s largest distributor, through a nationwide branch network, of building products.

The move will see Get Britain Building logos appearing on company vehicles and on letterheads and marketing support, as local branches take up the opportunity to ally themselves with a campaign which has already captured the imagination of so many of their customers.

Rob Marchbank, CEO Wolseley Europe and Managing Director for Wolseley UK, said: “The unprecedented market conditions continue to be challenging and we fully support any campaign which provides a benefit to communities and the sector. We welcome the pledge by the Government to invest £1.5bn in the housing sector, and encourage the Government to ensure the investment materialises.

“Our nationwide network of branches will be given the opportunity to utilise Get Britain Building marketing materials to help raise awareness of the campaign on a local level and publicly show our support.”

Welcoming Wolseley to the campaign, Chris Pateman, GBB spokesperson and Managing Director of Builders Merchants Federation, says: “The weight of a business like Wolseley behind the campaign cannot be underestimated. The more and bigger the voices calling upon the Government to acknowledge and underwrite the significance of construction to the UK economy; the more likely it will realise the enormous opportunity that we provide to help drive all of us out of recession. As it is, their denial of this is almost wilful – and GBB aims to change that”.

It is GBB’s contention that Government treats construction – which represents 9% of GDP and employs approximately 7,000,000 people – as an invisible industry, preferring to consider its manufacturing, distribution and contracting arms as disparate sectors.

By doing so, it can avoid accusations of neglect from one of the nation’s powerhouse industries; while being free to favour traditionally emotive, homogenised and unionised groups – such as automotive (which only accounts for 0.8% of GDP) – with headline-grabbing support that brings little to the UK.

Similarly, the construction industry, when treated as a whole is almost double the automotive sector for employment numbers and GBB reckons that job losses in building may yet total 400% of those lost to the car industry.

“As has been frequently documented in recent studies it is now critical that the Government recognise the value of the British construction industry and how it can be deployed to re-energise the UK economy.

Strategic investment in infrastructure – such as realising the green potential of existing UK housing stock – is just one of many ways we can drag ourselves up by our bootstraps, and one which can only benefit the Treasury from the off,” concludes Pateman.

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