The fall in repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) work points to a bumpy recovery for construction, which must be strengthened if we are to ‘build back better’, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in response to today’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.                                                                                                               

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The March Budget provides the Government with a valuable opportunity to back the UK construction sector’s recovery from the pandemic, with short term stimuli and a long-term vision. The Government should use the Budget to scrap reverse charge VAT which will take cash away from small businesses when they need it most. It should back a short-term cut in VAT to keep the RMI market moving, and make it more likely homeowners will opt for green improvements to their homes. And in the year of COP, the Government should endorse a national retrofit strategy to tackle the UK’s contribution to climate change and make our homes warmer and greener for generations to come.”

Berry continued: “With construction output growing by 1.9% in November 2020, the construction sector continues to remain a resilient source of economic recovery for the UK. While increases in new work fuelled the sector’s recovery, the decreased output of RMI work in November 2020 should be cause for concern in these latest figures. RMI work has served as a relatively consistent source of fuel for recovery within the sector and is of great importance to our efforts to make our buildings greener and achieve net-zero by 2050. Small and medium-sized builders stand ready to undertake this work, but greater assurance during times of significant uncertainty is required.”

Notes to editors

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is the largest trade association in the UK construction industry representing thousands of firms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Established in 1941 to protect the interests of small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms, the FMB is independent and non-profit making, lobbying for members’ interests at both the national and local level.

The FMB is a source of knowledge, professional advice and support for its members, providing a range of modern and relevant business building services to help them succeed. The FMB is committed to raising quality in the construction industry and offers a free Find a Builder service to consumers.