A national trade body representing members across the North East has welcomed Government moves to protect jobs in the building industry.

The Builders Merchants Federation says initiatives launched by the Chancellor in his statement yesterday will help the sector to navigate difficult economic times ahead.

According to the BMF, the package of measures, including the Green Homes Grant and moves to support local tradespeople to make homes warmer, cheaper to heat and more environmentally friendly, will all aid the road to recovery.

The trade body has also welcomed the Construction Talent Retention Scheme, a new partnership between industry and Government to secure essential talent in the UK’s construction sector.

Operated by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), which is made up of trade and business associations from across the supply chain including the BMF, it centres around an online portal, which supports the redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy from across the sector.

The scheme also enables temporary employee loans between businesses.

John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF, said: “It’s really important that we keep the skills built up over many years within the industry, in order to secure construction’s long-term recovery in the North East and to underpin the drive for greener homes.

“The Construction Talent Retention Scheme will enable us to retain our talent base and redeploy the skills of our people across the entire sector.

“Many people don’t associate the building materials industry with a clear and focused career path, but over many years our members have worked to develop a culture based around the training and development of their people.

“We are pleased to see the Government launching the scheme, which will help in some way to keep this talent in place across the industry.”

The BMF has worked extensively to support careers in its industry, including the development of a new website which includes information on the qualifications and career routes available to new recruits, including apprenticeships, diplomas and foundation degrees.

It also operates an ambassador programme, where people from the ranks of the Federation’s membership help to promote the opportunities offered by the industry.

Mr Newcomb added: “Our industry is one that is focused on the community and supporting jobs and opportunities in the region.

“As we take steps to recover from the impact of the pandemic, BMF’s members in the North East can help drive local productivity and prosperity.”