Britain’s top tradesmen visit Treasury

Published:  30 January, 2015

Two professional plumbers were recently invited to meet with Chancellor George Osborne at the Treasury, to discuss the current picture for UK tradespeople and what could be done to encourage further business growth across trades.

Raymond McKnight and Ray Whitford received the invitation after being named as finalists in Screwfix’s annual search for ‘Britain’s Top Tradesman’. Joined by the other finalists from across the UK (pictured), they were given the opportunity to share their thoughts with the Chancellor on how the government can help keep business booming for the trade’s professionals. Mr McKnight and Mr Whitford were also given a tour of 10 Downing Street.

“Last year was a busy year for me and I expect this was the case for many other tradesmen as well,” said Mr McKnight. “It was a great opportunity to be invited to meet with the Chancellor and to talk about our thoughts on what might help small businesses to remain successful in 2015 and beyond.

“I know that there have already been some initiatives put in place which have helped us over the last couple of years, but I think there is more that could be done to make it easier for small businesses to remain successful.”

Mr Osborne said: “It’s been great to welcome some of the finalists of the Britain’s Top Tradesmen competition, run by Screwfix, to Downing Street. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and hearing tradesmen talk positively about the last year, and look ahead to 2015 with optimism, is further evidence that our long-term economic plan is working.

“This government is backing businesses of all sizes and giving them every opportunity to grow and create jobs. That’s why we are reducing the burden of business rates, improving access to finance, and have introduced a new Employment Allowance – a £2,000 cash back on jobs for companies across the country. But we can always do more, and that’s why I wanted to meet with the Top Tradesmen – to congratulate them on their success, and to hear what else we can do to back our small businesses.”

Andrew Livingston, chief executive officer of Plumbfix and its parent company Screwfix, accompanied the tradesmen on their visit. He added: “We talk to our tradesmen on a daily basis, and it’s great to see that business is good for them at the moment. As a key supplier to the trade, we welcomed the opportunity to meet the Chancellor, with a group of Britain’s top tradesmen so they could discuss their businesses and provide suggestions on what else could be done. Many of our customers are busier than ever right now and it’s important that we work closely with the wider industry and government to consider new ways to help them maintain this momentum.”