Construction leaders are calling on the new Prime Minister to intervene as construction output flatlines for the benefit of the wider economy as the latest statistics show that the sector is flatlining, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Commenting on the latest construction output statistics from the Office for National Statistics, which show that construction output growth in Great Britain was flat (0.0%) in the three-month on three-months to May 2019, Sarah McMonagle, Director of Communications at the FMB, said “Alarm bells will be ringing in the ears of the two candidates vying to be Prime Minister, with these latest stats showing that the construction sector is at a standstill. Whoever wins the race for PM, I want to see that person take decisive action in their first days in office by intervening to stimulate our waning sector, which is so vital to the health of the wider economy. Indeed, without it, our country’s house building aspirations will be impossible to deliver.”
“The poor performance of the construction sector over the past few months was driven partly by a drop in activity in the repair and maintenance sector. As you would expect, this part of the construction industry is particularly vulnerable to dips in consumer confidence, which the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit continues to perpetuate. There would be no better way to encourage homeowners to commission building projects in the second half of this year than by slashing VAT on housing repair, maintenance and improvement from 20 percent to 5 per cent. Furthermore, when we asked our members how the next PM could best prevent an economic downturn, almost 90 per cent felt this was the most effective way to achieve it.”
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), added “Boris the builder must build columns instead of writing them if he is to fix the housing crisis and restore the hope of home ownership to a generation. We will only reach the number of good quality homes we need, and at the rate we need them, if local house builders are freed up to build as many homes as the large house builders. We want to see Boris bring down the barriers facing construction SMEs, including those who repair and maintain our homes. If Boris is looking to cut taxes, then we suggest slashing VAT on home improvement works, as nine in ten builders believe this is the single best tool in Boris the builder’s toolkit to prevent an economic downturn post-Brexit. Bojo must restore the housing market’s mojo to ensure that Brexit Britain is built on strong foundations.”