Builders demand Budget for energy efficiency

The next Budget should include measures to make Britain’s homes more energy-efficient and boost the construction industry, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has warned the Chancellor in a letter. […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The next Budget should include measures to make Britain’s homes more energy-efficient and boost the construction industry, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has warned the Chancellor in a letter.

Chancellor George Osborne is due to deliver his Budget for 2013 on 20 March, he told Parliament back in December.

The FMB says the economic situation “continues to be extremely difficult” for small and medium sized building firms and believes the Budget could help them at the same time as aiding people struggling with fuel bills.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the trade body said: “By 2016, nine 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.”

Mr Berry called for a cut in VAT from 20% to 5% on home renovation and repair, as he suggested home-owners can’t afford to get work done despite Britain having some of the oldest housing stock in Europe.

The FMB also wants to rethink the “unrealistic timeline” for zero-carbon homes. New energy efficiency standards for new houses which kick in from October later this year “could add more than £3,500 to the cost of building a new house”, added Mr Berry.