The Builders Merchants Federation has expressed disappointment that there was not more in Wednesday’s Budget to boost housebuilding and housing refurbishment.
Managing director, John Newcomb said: “Whilst builders merchants may see a long term boost in sales stemming from the new Help to Buy ISA, it is disappointing not to see further measures to help people improve their homes, particularly around energy efficiency. Our members would have been delighted to see a reduction in VAT for RMI, which would have really cemented the ‘long term economic’ growth in the merchant sector.
“Reforming VAT in this area would have the added benefit of helping to tackle the black economy, which currently significantly reduces the Chancellor’s tax take on home improvement work.”
Andrew Halstead-Smith, group marketing manager at brick maker, Ibstock Brick, is slightly more positive. He says: “Following growth in the construction industry, the commitment to keep Britain building with plans for 20 new housing zones is a welcome boost. This announcement, coupled with the creation of the Help to Buy ISA for first time buyers, further supports our housing market and, in turn, brick manufacturers.
“So that Ibstock can continue to meet the UK’s housing needs now, and in the future, we’ve ensured that ongoing investment is at the heart of our business strategy. In recent years, we’ve invested more than £22m in our Chesterton factory and reopened our mothballed site in Leicester, a move which has enabled us to deliver an additional 125million bricks to the UK’s housing market each year – equivalent to 20,000 new homes.
“Being a brick maker committed to investment, we’re delighted to see an ongoing focus on maintaining the growth of the construction industry.”