Short sighted pilot scheme excludes builders’ merchants

eye-test

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has announced a short sighted pilot scheme designed to enable small builders and tradesmen to get credit accounts up to £25,000 from B&Q, Screwfix and TradePoint – all members of the Kingfisher Group.

Traditionally, small builders would only be eligible for credit up to around £3,000 but because Kingfisher’s lending is backed by a government guarantee (or tax payers’ money), the pilot allows Kingfisher to give credit to trade businesses outside of its risk profile that it might otherwise have to turn away and enables existing trade customers to apply to extend their accounts for credit of up to £50,000.

Whilst any scheme designed to get Britain building again should be applauded, this one smacks of giving a major boost to one business at the exclusion of the organisations that have given credit to tradesmen for hundreds of years before B&Q was conceived…independent builders’ merchants.

Sure, the website for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills indicates that the pilot isn’t exclusive to Kingfisher and it will be inviting other businesses to take part, but in the meantime Kingfisher gets a head start and what seems to be an unfair competitive advantage through a guarantee from tax payers’ money.

To help independent merchants, the Builders’ Merchants Federation is brokering a pilot scheme. Any merchants interested in joining the BMF scheme should contact Brett Amphlett at BMF on 0203 581 1313 or email brett.amphlett@bmf.org.uk

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