FMB urges Chancellor to back local builders

An economic package that increases demand for building work, protects jobs, and invests in training is needed to boost economic growth and save jobs, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) ahead of the Chancellor’s announcement on Wednesday.

The FMB is publishing an open letter to Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, setting out four key steps that will support the industry to build back better and greener. This is all the more important as today’s 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 far 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.”

Berry concluded: “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.”