One of the UK’s largest independent plumbing and heating merchants, Williams Trade Supplies Ltd., hosted a visit by Suella Braverman at their site in Fareham, in July.
Williams Trade Supplies Ltd. is an award-winning trade only, independent plumbing and heating merchant that has been trading since 1972, catapulting from a traditional, local, independent merchant to a major regional independent and one of the fastest growing merchants in the UK in recent years, focussing on a high service proposition to self-employed tradespeople and SMEs.
Currently with 52 branches and a growing ecommerce platform, last year Williams celebrated 50 years of supplying plumbing and heating essentials and has been rapidly expanding with nine new branches opening in the last 18 months.
The MP for Fareham was welcomed by Ray Stafford, Martin Brown and Alex Peacock from Williams and Brett Amphlett from the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF). As Suella toured the trade counter and southern distribution centre she chatted with several members of the team.
Suella engaged with the Williams/BMF team on two core topics: the road to Net Zero in the built environment, and the ongoing issue of tool theft from tradespeople’s vehicles.
Williams is ardently focused on pushing to decarbonise space and water heating in residential properties through the installation of heat pumps through the Clean Heat Market Mechanism. Suella welcomed their suggestions to aid heat pump installation targets and further stimulate demand for green solutions.
Suella was pleased to discuss the prevalent issue of tool theft. On behalf of Van Watch, a cross industry, not-for-profit organisation campaigning against tool crime, Ray Stafford shared some statistics around tool crime and expressed appreciation on behalf of victim groups for the recent Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act. Ray went on to share his views on the matter and discussed further proposals to protect people’s tools.
Suella applauded Van Watch for its initiatives to bring down the frequency and mitigate the harm caused by this type of crime and spoke about the need for improvements in the approach to policing and sentencing of acquisitive crime.
Commenting, Suella said:
“It was very useful to meet with a Hampshire business from a sector which will be at the sharp end of delivering the low carbon agenda, and to hear first-hand from Ray, Martin and Brett about some of the practical issues influencing how householders embrace new technologies, and to learn about the real-life challenges in upskilling the workforce to deliver key programs.
“All victims of theft deserve more from the police and justice system than simply a crime number, and they should expect all reasonable lines of enquiry should be followed up.”
Commenting, Ray Stafford, Chair of Williams and founder of Van Watch stated:
“We are delighted to welcome Mrs Braverman both in her capacity as our local MP and in her role as Home Secretary. This is a critical time for our industry, and we look forward to working closely with government on designing a practical program for decarbonising the nation’s homes, as well as tackling crimes against the livelihoods of the skilled workers who will deliver that program.”