19th March 2010 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Investment in job creation and construction must be the top priorities for the Chancellor of the Exchequer as he prepares for his last Budget before the General Election, demands the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Richard Diment, Director General of the FMB said:
“The best way to restore Britain’s economic competitiveness must be to invest in our construction industry as it is an important driver of growth for other sectors of the economy and in particular the housing market. We have an urgent need to build more homes as well as improving our existing ones to make them more energy efficient. Getting the housing market back on its feet is the key to get Britain building again as it would sustain the jobs of thousands of apprentices and tens of thousands of construction workers.”
“The Chancellor must seize the initiative to get Britain building again. Investment in the construction sector offers the best value for money because every £1 spent on construction output generates a total of £2.84 in total economic activity. We are in serious danger of repeating the mistakes of last recession in the early 1990s when half a million people lost their jobs in the construction sector which resulted in the skills gap in the following years. To stop this from happening again public procurement needs to be reformed so that only these contractors who employ apprentices are on approved procurement lists for all public sector work.
“The housing crisis is a national tragedy. People need more homes and Britain’s builders want to build them. The planning system must be made faster, simpler and more efficient to help free up the market but we also need new incentives to promote small scale new housing developments that focus on existing neighbourhoods, villages and towns. The Chancellor also needs to think about our 26 million existing homes to make them more energy efficient. Cutting VAT on property improvements to make homes more energy efficient would create 24,00 new jobs alone this year in the construction sector as well as helping the five million people who are now living in fuel poverty.”