The Prime Minister said his party is the ‘party of building’ – now he must prove it
FMB have released their Builders’ New Year Wish List.
2020 - a new year, a new decade and a new Government, which brings with it many new opportunities but also many new challenges. The nation’s army of small builders, which the Federation of Master Builders represent, are ready to embrace these opportunities and help the Government meet these challenges from solving the housing crisis, to levelling up Britain’s skill base. We have written to the Prime Minister, with a blueprint of policies on how the Government can best support small and medium sized (SME) construction companies to deliver this over the next Parliament.
Turbo- charge house building by backing small house builders
We are still not building enough new homes and so housebuilding must be a national priority, and form part of this government’s ‘infrastructure revolution’. It was welcome to see a continued commitment in the Conservative Party Manifesto to delivering 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s. However, the volume house-builders won’t be able to deliver this target alone, and so it will be necessary to support the small and medium sized (SME) house builders across the country to help achieve this.
Cut VAT on home improvement work to unleash a retrofit revolution
Our buildings contribute around 40% of all carbon emissions, and half of this comes from the homes we live in. Upgrading our housing stock to make it more energy efficient to meet the Government’s 2050 net zero target will require insulating eight million lofts, five million cavity walls, and 20 million floors. Homeowners will need incentivising to have these works undertaken. One such way would be slashing the rate of VAT on home improvement works to 5%, to lower the cost barrier to the public.
Level up Britain’s Construction skills base
For the Prime Minister to deliver his ambitious housing and infrastructure targets we must level up Britain’s construction skills base. The industry is already facing a skills shortage with over half of small builders currently struggling to find a bricklayer or carpenter. This Government should promote vocational education and encouraging construction as a career of choice, should reform the Apprenticeship Levy and ensure any points-based immigration system allows for crucial trades in construction to be able to continue to come to the UK to work.
Protect consumers from rogue traders
The FMB have been leading the campaign for a mandatory licensing scheme for UK construction businesses in order to raise quality and professionalism in the industry. With so many different competency schemes in the construction industry it can be a confusing area for vulnerable consumers as well as for small businesses looking for credibility. We urge the Government to back licensing, to help stamp out rogue traders and protect consumers.
The Prime Minister recently said that his party is the ‘party of building’ – now is his opportunity to prove this.