Activities & Purpose:
After the 2015 General Election, the APPG was re-formed. Members of the Group are a mixture of long-standing supporters, newly-elected MPs and Peers. In the last Parliament, the APPG worked with industry partners and other Parliamentary Groups responding to Government proposals on the Green Deal and ECO, changes to solar FITs and payment practices. The coalition introduced legislation to try to combat the problems posed by late payment, part payment and retentions and the APPG was very active in this area.
This group of parliamentarians, led by Chairman Rt Hon David Hanson MP, have given invaluable support and advice to the industry and to the Group’s sponsor and advisor, NFRC. The APPG provides a forum for debate between legislators and industry representatives and an excellent opportunity to brief MPs and Peers on the challenges facing the roofing industry and the wider construction sector.
In the current political climate, engagement with the Government is vital. The APPG continues to represent the roofing industry to key decision-makers and ensure that, via parliamentary questions, consultation and liaison with Ministers and their advisers, the industry has an opportunity to contribute to policy development. With the General Election now behind us, the APPG will be looking to strengthen existing relationships and forge new ones, to build a strong base of Parliamentary support and ensure that the industry’s expertise is called upon by those formulating policy for the Government.
What is an All-Party Parliamentary Group?
An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is a group of parliamentarians, from all parties and from both Houses, formed to discuss a subject in which members have a common interest and enthusiasm.
The Groups are not controlled by political parties and only backbench members of both Houses (i.e. those who do not hold a ministerial position) are eligible to join. All-Party Groups provide a forum in which parliamentarians can discuss issues freely, often in the presence of interested parties. Each Group must have a minimum of 4 officers with at least one from the party of Government.
All-Party Groups often attempt to draw attention to certain aspects of public affairs or act as pressure groups to promote some particular cause and can help to keep the Government informed of parliamentary opinion.
APPGs can do this in a variety of ways:
- They can meet with Government Ministers to discuss their concerns;
- They can put more pressure of the Government by tabling oral and written questions for Ministers to answer;
- They can initiate Adjournment Debates;
- They can organise functions within the Houses of Parliament to raise the profile of their cause with other parliamentarians attracting more support;
- They can organise meetings, share ideas and co-ordinate action with other All-Party Parliamentary Groups.
Since the Group's inception, meetings have been held to discuss payment practices, apprenticeships, The Green Deal and ECO, rogue traders and the role of TrustMark and health and safety practices. A number of speakers attended meetings from industry, academic research and partner organisations. Many Parliamentary Questions were tabled and the Group actively engaged with both Government and Opposition. At the APPG’s annual lunches, speakers included Angela Smith (then Minister at CLG), Phil Willis (then Chairman of the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Select Committee), Grant Shapps in his capacity as Shadow Housing Minister and Adrian Bailey, Chairman of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee.
Since the Group was re-formed after the 2015 General Election, a position paper has been drafted to guide the Group’s activities.
- 2015-16 Position Paper - Over the forthcoming year, the APPG will be actively engaged with the Government’s plans for introducing the Apprenticeship Levy and how it will operate alongside the existing CITB Levy. With the Enterprise Bill going through Parliament, the APPG has already expressed concerns around the role and responsibility of the Small Business Commissioner and has briefed MPs and Peers prior to Parliamentary debates. Other work will include working with all four Heritage Agencies on the need for skilled heritage workmen (particularly with the renovation of the Palace of Westminster being considered) and engaging with Government on plans for encouraging home energy efficiency. A copy of the paper can be requested from Anna Wolfe.
Payment Practices and Procurement
- Ray Horwood met Lord Shipley regarding late payment
- Responded to BIS consultation on Grossly Unfair Payment Terms and Practices (March 2015)
- Compiled briefing with latest payment developments and held meeting with Tony Mulcahy (Assistant Director, Construction Sector Unit, BIS)
- Monitored all debates on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill (now Act) and the new Enterprise Bill
- Engaged with SEC Group over the the launch of their payment practices survey
- Wrote to John McNally MP about payment practices, held several briefing meetings with him and persuaded him to become vice-chairman of the APPG
- Responded to Small Business Commissioner consultation
- Organised APPG meeting on payment practices to which Bill Esterson MP, Shadow Small Business Minister attended
- Drafted PQs on payment as part of follow up from meeting
- Wrote and submitted response to the BIS consultation on unfair payment terms and practices
- Briefed a number of MPs and Peers ahead of relevant debates in the Commons and Lords (with briefing material mentioned in debates)
- Drafted and submitted response to Ofqual
consultation on the withdrawal of the QCF
- Attended launch of Demos Commission on
Apprenticeships report and summarised the Commission’s final report
- Drafted response to Apprenticeship Levy
Heritage /Build Environment
- Drafted a response to the Lords Built Environment Select Committee call for evidence.
- Responded to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee's inquiry into housing energy efficiency.
- Drafted response to Scottish procurement consultation.
- General Election planning, including
mapping members and identifying Prospective Parliamentary Candidates.
- Summarised all relevant sections of Party
- Contacted all of the APPG before the election
to ascertain interest in re-joining the Group
- Extensive mapping of new MPs to aid with
re-forming of APPG.
- Held Inaugural meeting and re-registered
- Provided biographies of the relevant new
Select Committee Chairs once elected in May 2015, and new Shadow Ministers
appointed after the Labour Party leadership election.
The key issues for the Roofing industry in the immediate future will be:
- The Apprenticeship Ley and how the levy will impact NFRC trade and supplier members. As the industry already pays in to the CITB Levy there are many questions which require clarification on how the two schemes will work together. The APPG will be pursuing this via Parliamentary Questions, Ministerial and Civil Service engagement and collaboration with industry partners.
- Late and Part Payment and Retentions will continue to a hot political potato. Despite Government efforts in this area, the legislation does not go far enough in terms of policing the construction industry to ensure that compliance with the new regulations is effective and in place.
- Ensuring that correctly trained roofing specialists are used in the renovation of the Palace of Westminster.
- Engaging with the Department for Energy and Climate Change over future plans to encourage energy efficiency in homes.