New 'build, build, build' deal from government must not forget repair, says FMB

The prime minister will today (30th June) announce a new deal which puts jobs and infrastructure at the heart of the government’s economic growth strategy.

The news is welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders, but it states that the repair, maintenance and improvement (RM&I) sector should not be overlooked in terms of investment.

Some £5bn will be used by the government to accelerate infrastructure projects in order to fuel jobs and economic recovery.

The trade association believes that the investment has come at the right time because builders’ workloads, enquiries and level of employment have all contracted.

Data published today by the FMB from a survey tracking key indicators in the SME building industry, found:

  • 93% of builders say that the impact of the coronavirus is constraining their firm’s output
  • 82% expect the cost of building materials to increase over the next three months
  • 43% of SMEs are forecasting lower workloads over the period May-July 2020
  • 71% are reporting lower levels of enquiries.

Brian Berry, chief executive at the FMB, said: “The pandemic has placed historic constraints on local builders’ ability to work, train, and earn a living. 

“The RM&I market, the bread and butter for most small builders, has been the hardest hit.” 

He added that the FMB is determined to avoid a repeat of the devastating impact the 2008-9 financial crash had on livelihoods and the building industry.

In addition, Brian called for a cut in VAT for the RM&I sector.

“Investment in infrastructure should mean housing too, making it easier for SME builders to build out small sites and bring empty homes back into use. 

“A national retrofit strategy will help boost market confidence and unleash the army of local builders waiting to improve the energy efficiency of our homes.”

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