The next UK Government will face many challenges over and above negotiating Britain’s departure from the European Union.
The construction industry accounts for 7% of GDP and employs three million people across the UK. For every £1 invested in construction, £2.84 is generated in the wider economy and more importantly, for every £1 invested in construction, 92p stays within the UK.
Construction is therefore central to delivering the Government’s economic objectives but is also key to delivering the country’s social and environmental objectives. Below is the FMB’s ‘Five-point plan for the next Government’ which we would like to see reflected in the manifestos of the main political parties.
Our five point plan for the next government: 2017 to 2022
1) Ensure that the construction industry has enough skilled workers
- Introduce a flexible system of immigration that allows key strategic industries like construction to draw upon adequate levels of skilled labour from the EU and beyond.
- Commit to increasing the quality, duration and thoroughness of apprenticeships and thus improve the image of vocational training so that we can attract more young people into our industry.
2) Increase the supply of new homes
- The UK Government should commit to building at least 200,000 new homes per year in England and encourage the delivery of 25,000 new homes in Scotland; 14,000 in Wales; and 11,000 in Northern Ireland.
- In England, continue to work with the house building industry to successfully implement key recommendations within the 2017 Housing White Paper that are designed to increase house building through SME builders.
3) Improve the quality of our new and existing homes
- Introduce a mandatory warranty requirement for all domestic building works that require Building Regulations approval and structural engineering calculations.
- Commission a thorough review of new homes warranties to establish whether the warranties currently provided are adequate.
4) Make our homes more energy efficient
- Reduce VAT on housing renovation and repair work from 20% to 5% to encourage refurbishment work, including energy efficiency measures.
- Ensure that any Government investment in reducing energy bills is targeted primarily at improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s homes.
5) Boost growth among construction SMEs
- Ensure that the overall regulatory burden on small businesses is reduced as part of the Brexit process.
- Improve public procurement for construction SMEs and ensure local firms win a higher proportion of local authority contracts post-Brexit.