The Modern Masonry Alliance has called for a fresh set of measures to encourage homeowners into building extensions again.
The call comes after the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton voted overwhelmingly against Coalition Government plans to allow 8m long extensions to be built under ‘permitted development rights’ – without planning permission.
Although the vote is not binding, it deals a huge blow to the Coalition Government’s plans to reform the planning system.
The proposals formed part of a package of measures announced by Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg earlier this month designed to boost the flagging economy.
A month-long consultation is taking place on the plan to ease rules, for a three-year period, on developments including home extensions of up to 8m.
Mike Leonard, director of the MMA, said that main obstacle facing homes owners was not planning, but finding the money for building work.
He said: “Planning is not the issue with extensions, it is finance and confidence.
“We are calling for an immediate cut in VAT on the labour for extensions to 5% for 12 months.
“We also need to get lenders to offer a 3% home improvement loan for homeowners with equity in their home.”
Communities minister Don Foster Told the conference that the Government “needed to everything possible to Get Britain Building”.
He said he would listen to the conference’s concerns and admitted the proposals could be improved.