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'Cut VAT on home improvements to boost economy', says FMB

THE Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is calling for the Government to cut the VAT on home improvement work following official data from the ONS published today.

While there has been a rise in output over the first quarter of the year, construction output decreased month-on-month by 1.9% and the repair and maintenance series fell to its lowest level since December 2018, experiencing a fall of 3.1% compared to the previous month. 

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “It’s not at all surprising that construction output has dropped at the end of the first quarter of this year, given the unprecedented political uncertainty we’ve been facing. To get us through these turbulent times, the Government must be bold in its thinking when it comes to supporting the economy bucking any downward turn. One course of action would be to cut VAT on work in the home improvement and private domestic sectors from 20% to 5%”

“A cut in VAT would help stimulate demand from homeowners resulting in more work for the thousands of small to medium-sized construction companies which would help support local economies and increase training opportunities. This is all the more important given that the FMB’s own State of Trade Survey for Q1 2019 saw the first dip in workloads for small builders in six years."

Berry concluded: “Cutting VAT would also be an important step to help encourage more retrofits of our existing buildings to make them more energy efficient and deliver a cut in carbon emissions.”

www.fmb.org.uk

Hire Sector Vital Enabler for the Infrastructure Investment Announced by Chancellor

The Hire Association welcomes the additional capital investment in national infrastructure announced by the Chancellor. Hire companies are key enablers of construction, homebuilding and infrastructure works.

Clearly, economic uncertainty and weakening consumer demand, plus growing inflationary pressures are impacting on growth expectations and confidence.

Prioritising infrastructure will help to unlock the potential for building new homes, improve connectivity and address congestion pinch points.

Hire employers were surprised at the lack of mention regarding the Apprenticeship Levy - a highly significant new business tax due to start next April. Many of the details remain unclear.

Graham Arundell, Managing Director, HAE EHA said; “The Chancellor's analysis is very much to invest as a buffer against the uncertain times ahead as we approach exiting the EU. At the same time, the hire sector will be a vital component in realising this investment on the ground, whether building new homes, modernising roads and railways, and widening next generation digital connectivity.”

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