THE Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has urged UK chancellor Rishi Sunak to produce an economic package of measures that increases demand for building work, protects jobs and invests in training.
With the chancellor due to make an announcement on Wednesday, the FMB has published an open letter setting out four key steps to support the industry to build back ‘better and greener’.
The move comes as new UK Construction PMI data for June 2020 shows that employment has fallen at the end of the second quarter, and builders are registering only ‘cautious optimism’ with the rate of new order growth weaker than seen for business activity.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB said, “The chancellor must deliver on last week’s commitments to build back better and greener with a recovery package that places local builders at the heart. The FMB welcomed the Government’s unprecedented support measures for firms during the lockdown, and hopes for similar scale and creativity to protect local construction jobs and training opportunities.
“The four key interventions needed to support recovery in the SME construction sector include cutting VAT on repair and renovation works to 5% to boost activity. The Government must bring forward its pledged £9.2 billion investment in energy efficiency, underpinned by a national retrofit strategy to mobilise the market. As the Prime Minister recognised last week, building new homes is a great economic stimulus, and supporting local SME house builders will speed up delivery and drive up quality.
“Finally, opportunities need to be created for apprentices, and given that local builders train the majority in construction, the Government needs to target information and financial support to them. Builders stand ready to build back better, but they need support to do so.”