Responding to today’s Budget Statement, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said:

“Understandably, the Chancellor has delivered a ‘first aid Budget’ to overcome the short-term crisis caused by COVID-19. But he has missed an important opportunity to announce interventions that would support the sustainable, long-term recovery construction needs. The autumn Budget must include measures to cut VAT on repair and renovation, and a National Retrofit Strategy to promote decarbonisation and create jobs and growth."

Commenting on measures to support businesses dealing with COVID-19, Berry said:

“Builders are increasingly concerned about the impact COVID-19 will have on their businesses. Today’s package of measures to support SMEs through refunding Statutory Sick Pay, making temporary loans and grants available, and support for the self-employed will provide welcome relief to small building businesses and their workers alike."

On red diesel, Berry continued:

“While we understand the need to move away from red diesel in the long-term, it is unfair that construction should no longer be exempt while agriculture remains so. Construction contributes 9% to GDP and employs 2.7 million people, which does not appear to be recognised by the Chancellor. He must prioritise the development of a low-cost, low-carbon alternative to support SMEs of all sectors to tackle the climate crisis. Otherwise, the Chancellor is giving with one hand to SMEs and taking with the other.”

On housing, Berry concluded:

“An investment of £13.7 billion in housing is welcome news, however, there was no mention of how the Government plan to support SME house builders. Master Builders are facing major barriers finding land, accessing finance and skilled workers – these will all need addressing if we are to build 300,000 homes a year.”

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. 

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