FMB urges Boris Johnson to slash VAT on home improvement works

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has called on the new government to “fix the housing crisis” but had hard words when the news broke that there would be no continuity in terms of key construction Secretaries of State or Ministers in the new government.

According to the National Housing Federation, housing has one of the smallest government budgets, labelling it a “chronic under-investment”. It predicts £12.8 billion is needed for affordable housing every year for the next decade

FMB Chief Exec Brian Berry picked up on the new PM’s speech on cutting taxes, and urged him to look at VAT on home improvement works. He said: “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.”

“Continuity would have been helpful”

Meanwhile, the FMB expressed disappointment at the revolving door of construction ministers, putting discussions back to square one. Sarah McMonagle, Director of Communications at the FMB, said: “The slate couldn’t have been wiped any cleaner when it comes to the PM’s new Cabinet. Not one single Secretary of State or Minister who the construction industry was working with up until yesterday remains in position. Yet again, our sector must start afresh briefing the key people on the issues that matter to the construction and house building sectors. In these uncertain economic times, some continuity would have been helpful.”

: “Having said that, of the changes that have been made, we’re pleased to see that Sajid Javid is now holding the purse strings as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Given his previous role as Housing Secretary, he will understand the potential for unlocking economic growth by investing in house building. Furthermore, we welcome warmly Esther McVey in her position as the new Housing Minister – albeit the tenth Housing Minister in ten years – given her background in construction. We look forward to working with the new Ministers as they seek to resolve the ongoing Brexit saga and build a prosperous post-Brexit Britain.”