“If you were running for Prime Minister…”

With a General Election firmly on the cards, we asked some leading industry figures what they would put in their manifesto to help KBB businesses if they were running for prime minister

Electrolux Luke Harding

Luke Harding – VP, Sales & Services Europe, Electrolux

I’d ensure that everyone in government understands the important role that small businesses play in this country. Sometimes we underplay the importance of small businesses, the high street, and independents that still give that really good, consultative, personal service to consumers. Understanding the role the UK high street plays and understanding how small businesses are critical to the UK economy, is vital.

Richard Curtis – MD, Hafele UK

The primary focus should be on continuing to drive out inflation, which in turn should reduce interest rates, potentially reducing corporation tax, and continued tax breaks for capital investment into business.

Most importantly, there should be an emphasis on getting Britain building and investing into their homes again, by reforming planning laws and restimulating the new build market to construct the number of homes we need.

Angela Neve – product and marketing director, Vado

Triggering the housing market is important as that would pull through to independent KBB retailers. Because ultimately, most people re-do their bathrooms in the 12 months leading up to selling a home, or the 12 months after.

At the moment, the housing market is stagnant. So I’d consider something like stamp duty relief. Post-Covid, that really helped get the housing market moving again, and transactions rocketed.

Najib Maalouf – global president, Middleby Residential Group

If I was running for prime minister I’d encourage an ecosystem of parts supply that feeds the appliance industry through UK-based businesses. We need to see a reinvestment in manufacturing across the UK.

Shehryar Khan – MD, Sheraton Interiors, London

Our industry is directly linked to the housing market so, if I was prime minister, I would be looking to massage the housing market to ensure it picks up and, eventually, reaches either pre-Covid or post-Covid levels.

At the moment the taps are off from the banks, planning permission is low and, to be frank, the housing market is stale. And that is showing up as a big chunk of missing day-to-day enquiries.

Dan Stronge – MD, Jones Britain Kitchens, Tunbridge Wells

For me, it’s about reducing VAT – that would solve a massive problem. High street retail in this country is falling substantially and I see that as a big, big problem. But at the very least I think that dropping VAT to 17.5 % would make a huge difference to UK businesses.

Danny Lay – MD, Caple

We need to see a drop in interest rates and I also think businesses are being taxed too highly, so I’d make changes there. It’s very difficult to invest in your business when the government are taking a quarter of your profits away in tax.

Neil Clark – MD, Franke UK

If I was running for prime minister, I’d certainly be concerned about the damage that interest rates are doing to the economy. I get that they’re there to control inflation but, ultimately, the way to do that is through cycle and demand.

Reducing interest rates would put more money back into people’s pockets and that would help improve consumer confidence. So, that would be my focus.

Richard Sloan – CEO, Sonas Bathrooms

I’d look at ways to help increase consumer spend and also reduce VAT rates on building materials to incentivise home refurbishment. Any additional support to help people to make their homes more efficient, either through new products or retrofitting, would help the industry.

There needs to be a greater focus from government on home improvement and incentivising consumers to spend on upgrading their homes, in general.

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