Nigel Rees, GGF Group Chief Executive attended the Conservative Party Business Day on Tuesday, 9 October whilst Giles Willson Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Technical Affairs presented at the Dods Green Deal Dialogue Fringe Event.
The Conservative Party Business Day
The Conservative Party Business Day began with breakout sessions, where the GGF had the opportunity for direct discussion and lobbying with:
Giles Chichester MEP on Energy
David Gauke MP on Tax
David Mowat MP on Treasury Issues
Michael Fallon MP on Business
Nick Boles MP on Planning and Local Government
Malcolm Harbour MEP on Internal Markets and Consumer Issues
Mark Hoban MP on Employment
Sajid Javid MP on the Economy
Nigel Rees commented, “It was good to be in a position to raise issues surrounding Green Deal and address the difficulties companies will face, such as the access for SMEs into the scheme, the bureaucracy and the costs for certification. The disparity of the VAT ratings on Green Deal measures and the implications of a reduction to incentivise the installation of energy efficient products and Building Regulations across all the parts of the UK including Consequential Improvements. Though this was useful dialogue, nothing particularly new was released.”
Following the breakout sessions, a Eurozone Panel with Rt Hon David Lidington MP, Richard Ashworth MEP and Mats Persson, from Open Europe was introduced and this was followed by lunch when the Prime Minister delivered a speech on the general “state of the nation” however no delegates’ questions were allowed.
After lunch, Nigel Rees engaged in discussions with Michael Fallon MP, David Gauke MP, Rt Hon George Barber MP and Matthew Hancock MP on creating the best business environment for securing growth in the UK.
This session was followed by a Business Seminar attended by Lord Young, Oliver Letwin MP, Hon Ed Vaizey MP, Lord Marland and Nadhim Sahawi MP. During this discussion, Nigel Rees raised the issue of the removal of grants for companies to exhibit at overseas exhibitions. Lord Marland responded that UKTI would not be considering increasing grants. It is a risk that companies need to take themselves if they want to export in order to grow their businesses. Nigel Rees considered this to be yet another example of lack of Government support for companies wanting to grow their business overseas.
Nigel Rees commented, “The Government endorses exporting as a strong channel for growth yet refuses to offer help for UK businesses to develop their trade abroad. For example, this month Glasstec Dusseldorf takes place, it’s the largest trade fair for the Glass and Glazing industry and many British companies could benefit from exhibiting their products and services to an international audience at this show, but simply can’t afford to up front costs associated with exhibiting internationally.”
Following the Conference, Nigel Rees commented, “The Conference provided a good platform to air the views of our Members on several fronts to relevant Government Ministers. We will continue to lobby policy makers and key influencers on their behalf, to help them cope through these difficult times”.
Green Deal Dialogue Fringe Event
At the Conservative Party Conference, Dods held a Green Deal Dialogue Fringe Event that was sponsored by the GGF. The event entitled “Getting the best from the green deal: How do we protect local business & consumers?” was held on
Tuesday October 9.
The Speakers at the event included:
Damian Carrington, Environment Correspondent, Guardian
Rt Hon Gregory Barker MP, Climate Change minister
Giles Willson, GGF Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Technical Affairs
Oliver Colville MP
Sarah Beatty, Environment Manager, Land Securities
Paul King, Chief Executive, UK Green Building Council
In Greg Barker’s opening speech he commented, “The Green Deal will not be a “flash in the pan” and the Government will remain committed to the scheme after its launch. It will be a profound shift in the way energy efficiency is delivered.”
Mr Barker added that Birmingham City Council became the first council to announce its Green Deal plans yesterday, in partnership with Carillion.
Giles Willson Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Technical Affairs presented at the event and pitched many of the key issues directly with Energy Minister, Greg Barker MP.
The key points raised by Giles included; the challenges facing SMEs wanting to gain Green Deal work, highlighting the difficulty for inclusion, the bureaucracy and costs of Green Deal Certification.
Barker stated, “SMEs will be right at the heart of the Green Deal, especially local builders and local contractors. The trusted status of small businesses is just as important as the power and money of bigger firms”
Giles also raised the point that the Glass and Glazing industry had many companies with an already competent workforce that will now have to go back and pay to get “recertified” for Green Deal Accreditation purposes, emphasizing that the accreditation schemes were quite an outlay with no guarantee of work.
This latest Green Deal Dialogue Fringe Event was the third and final one to take place over this year’s Party Conferences. At all three events, Giles Willson was part of the panel of speakers and presented the concerns of GGF Members. Emerging from the event, Giles summarised “The Green Deal Dialogue events at the three Party Conferences have been very positive and very different – as each political party has different perspectives on energy, climate change, construction and economic growth. Being able to put forward and underline the GGF’s Members’ concerns to the key Government Minsters such as Ed Davey and Greg Barker was essential however the audience participation, hearing alternative views and stating our own, made the events more worthwhile.”
For more information on Green Deal the GGF website: http://www.ggf.org.uk/green-deal-faqs