Measures to boost construction need to be at the heart of the forthcoming Budget to help propel the economy, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). This is in response to PMI data out today, showing that output and employment in construction contracted in January.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “These are difficult times for builders who are weathering a storm of product delays, material prices rises and a drop in consumer confidence. The Government has been clear that construction should stay open, and local builders stand ready to support our economic recovery. But they need greater support to build back better and greener across the country, as shown by today’s figures and echoed in the FMB’s State of Trade research.”
Berry concluded: “The Chancellor must scrap reverse charge VAT immediately, a damaging new tax policy that will cut cashflow by around 20% for my members. A three month extension to the Stamp Duty holiday would help address the slowdown in house building, avoiding sales falling through and consumers being priced out of their dream homes. Finally, the Chancellor should cut VAT on home improvement works. We have never demanded more from our homes, and they must be adapted to the ‘new normal’. They must also be upgraded with green measures, delivered according to a National Retrofit Strategy for all our homes. This will set us on the road to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Cutting VAT will unlock additional capital to invest back into our greatest assets.”