By Claire West

The latest quarterly Trade Pulse Report for Screwfix, which examines tradesmens’ confidence levels nationally finds evidence that tradesmen are relaxed about the impact on business prospects of the forthcoming VAT rise. Trade Pulse quizzes tradesmen across the UK who buy from Screwfix, the UK’s leading supplier of fixings and tools on a range of issues to measure confidence across building trades on a regional and national basis.

Asked whether they intended to stock up prior to the VAT Rise, 23% of tradesmen said that they would but 60% said that there was no urgency and that they would only purchase what they needed.

Eighty two percent of tradesmen said that they would pass on any price increases in materials to customers after January 1st, with only 15% saying that they would absorb the impact of the price increases.

Commenting on the findings, John Mewett, marketing director at Screwfix said: “Four in five tradesmen are telling us that they feel confident that they will be able to pass on post-January 1st increases to customers. That suggests to us that the VAT rise is seen as broadly neutral for business prospects amongst the trade. Had there been concerns we would have expected far more tradesmen to indicate that they would absorb the VAT increase in their pricing. A few years ago the picture would have been very different indeed.”

He added: “In a buoyant market tradesmen would have taken advantage of lower raw material costs ahead of the January deadline. The fact that most aren’t is a signal that whilst trading is much better than it has been, tradesmen aren’t prepared to go out on a limb and stockpile materials.”