Builders lukewarm on Budget changes

The Chancellor could have done more to restore consumer confidence and encourage spending in order to support key policy initiatives such as the Green Deal energy efficiency programme and a major increase in the number of new homes, according to builders organisation the Federation of Master Builders.

Brian Berry, FMB chief executive said: “Growth in the economy is slow because of the squeeze on household incomes and consumer spending. The current forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility is for only 0.8 per cent growth in UK GDP in 2012. Other forecasts suggest growth this year could be even lower.

“The Chancellor made some welcome announcements in today’s Budget designed to help businesses hire people, such as the additional cut in corporation tax. However, construction SMEs need measures to reverse the contraction in the housing sector output before they can increase employment opportunities.

He continued: “The Government believes people are always looking to invest in their homes even in times of austerity, but back in December just 5% of construction SMEs expected work in the private housing repair, maintenance and improvement sector to pick up in 2012.

“Despite this we are still waiting for details of how the £200 million Green Deal incentive fund will help boost early take up of the Green Deal finance packages. The Chancellor also missed an opportunity when streamlining VAT to include a lower rate of VAT for Green Deal , which would be a useful incentive. Homeowners and landlords need to know, just as much as the industry, what the total benefits will be of signing up for a Green Deal loan attached to their property. ”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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