Environment Minister David Rutley MP yesterday committed to “strengthening the timber trade” during a parliamentary debate on the implications of Brexit on the timber industry.
Describing the industry as a “real priority” for Government, the Minister also pledged to make sure that timber importers face as “few additional costs as possible” after Brexit.
The comments came after Martin Whitfield MP, the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Timber Industries, urged the Government to ensure that after we leave the EU, timber imports can continue clear customs the same way they do now [Read more].
Martin Whitfield MP said: “Without frictionless trade, I believe we face a clear challenge to build the number of homes the Prime Minister has committed to providing over this parliament.
This challenge exists because the supply of timber is essential to meeting housing demands. This sector, which contributes £10bn to the UK economy each year is still hugely reliant on trade with EU countries. Incredibly, 90% of the timber used to build homes in the UK is imported from across Europe.”
David Hopkins, Director of the Confederation of the Timber Industries (CTI) said: “We welcome the Minister’s commitment to minimise the additional costs of Brexit on the import and export of timber. I am glad that the Government understands the indispensable role our industry plays in the UK construction sector and the wider economy.
“It is encouraging that David Rutley MP has agreed to meet with the APPG for the Timber Industries to further discuss how the Government can support the timber sector and, therefore, ensure the Government achieves its house building targets.”
The Confederation of Timber Industries has already secured a number of concessions from Government in relation to the sector‘s future after the UK leaves the European Union.
Earlier this year Government committed to protect timber businesses from up-front payments of VAT in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This followed earlier Ministerial commitments to retain the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) after the UK leaves the European Union, following pressure from the industry.