Cruddas support for building materials supplier on independent living

  • Jon Cruddas MP visits head office of South East’s leading building materials’ supplier
  • £70 million national business Nicholls & Clarke Group commemorates 140 years of trading in 2015
  • John Cruddas hears of frustrations relating industry regulation level playing field and accessibility in public buildings

Our view on adapting housing to enable people to remain at home, rather than be in hospital, was the focus of a constituency visit by Jon Cruddas MP in Chadwell Heath last Friday.

Jon Cruddas visited Nicholls & Clarke, an independent Group of businesses based in his East London constituency that manufactures, distributes, retails and exports building materials and home improvement products since 1875.

Welcoming him was Stephen Forbes, Deputy Chairman and David Forbes, Chief Executive, who toured the 6-acre site with Mr Cruddas to show him the Group’s operation. The MP saw a complete range of accessible bathrooms, sanitaryware, showering solutions and wet rooms – many of which are manufactured by Nicholls & Clarke businesses amongst their four manufacturing plants.

David Forbes outlined how the business has developed national expertise in bathing and showering solutions for the elderly and disabled through its N&C Phlexicare brand. Nicholls & Clarke invented many of the specialist products used in independent living – notably the raised-height toilet, half-height shower door and low-entry shower tray and RADAR lock. Such products were brought to market after extensive research with occupational therapists and charities that support vulnerable users.

Commenting on his visit, Jon Cruddas MP remarked:

“I was delighted to visit Nicholls & Clarke in my constituency and learn of their contribution to the built environment – both as a manufacturer and independent builders’ merchant

“Stephen, David Forbes and the team are to be applauded on their efforts. They are a good indicator of the state of the economy. It was good to hear from a local firm about their future plans.”

In addition to being MP for Dagenham, Jon Cruddas is also the Labour Party’s Policy Review Co-ordinator on a national scale. With an ageing population and increasing pressure on the NHS and social care budgets, he said it was better to find ways for constituents to try to lead independent lives, rather than having to stay in hospital or day care centres.

Jon Cruddas continued:

 “Today was useful for me because I saw, at first hand, the role that firms like Nicholls & Clarke play in wider social policy. The assisted and independent living solutions I saw will help inform the thinking on big ticket policy like healthcare that the next Labour Government must get right

“As a country, we spend billions of pounds keeping vulnerable people in hospital, when they should be discharged. Spending a few thousand pounds on adaptations to enable them to go home, that saves thousands of pounds per year in social care costs, has to be the way forward.”


Concluding the MP’s visit, David Forbes, Group Chief Executive, said:

 “We were grateful for the time Jon Cruddas spent with us to learn about our business and the building materials’ supply chain. Nicholls & Clarke has made sanitaryware and washrooms for a very long time and we look forward to celebrating our 140 anniversary later this year

“With a General Election approaching, we want politicians in all parties to fully understand what businesses like ours offer to support vulnerable people to live independently in their own home.”

Mr Cruddas also heard about the flow of money in the trade, notably access to finance for SMEs, how merchants act as ‘bankers to the trade’ and late payments & retentions.

The visit was another arranged by the Builders Merchants Federation as part of its industry & parliamentary programme. The purpose is to support the BMF Policy Manifesto by taking MPs to merchants in their constituency to see how the building materials’ supply chain works.