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Builders warn Chancellor to budget for energy

This Spring’s Budget must include measures to make Britain’s homes more energy-efficient, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has warned in a letter to the Chancellor, George Osborne.

Such a measure would boost the construction industry and help householders protect themselves against rising fuel bills.

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “By 2016 9 million British households could be in fuel poverty. We need action now to help get Britain building towards growth, and independent economists estimate that diverting funds into a massive public-sector programme to improve the energy-efficiency of Britain’s existing 26 million homes would boost GDP by 0.2%, create 130,000 jobs and help the Government meet its own targets for cutting carbon emissions.

“We also want ministers to rethink the unrealistic timeline for zero-carbon homes, which was set back in 2006 before the economic slump. Our own survey of smaller housing developers found that the proposals to change Part L of the Building Regulations in October this year could add more than £3,500 to the cost of building a new house. This will discourage even more developers from building new homes, further exacerbating the desperate housing shortage and locking low and middle-income buyers out of the market.”

“Finally, we need to see a cut in VAT from 20% to 5% on home renovation and repair. Britain’s ageing housing stock is deteriorating as home-owners can’t afford to get work done. Families are trapped in a vicious cycle, in which they can’t afford to move and planning red tape makes it harder to alter their homes to meet changing need. Cutting VAT on renovation and repair would give a shot in the arm to beleaguered builders, create jobs and encourage householders to make their homes more comfortable, affordable and energy-efficient.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Editor-in-Chief across the BMJ portfolio.

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