The general election manifestos of the three main parties don’t go far enough to help the beleaguered building industry create the homes that are urgently needed, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Richard Diment, Director General of the FMB said “The policies outlined in the party manifestos all fail to sufficiently recognise the important contribution that the building industry can and should be making to help the economic recovery. Getting the housing market moving again is key to many small builders who are looking to build more houses as well as helping to improve our existing homes. The Labour Party has said it will commit to building 50,000 new council homes over the next five years which doesn’t even come close to housing the five million people on social housing waiting list. The Conservative Party’s plan to abolish national housing targets means that any new houses will be dependent on local communities wanting new homes in their area; and the Liberal Democrats are advocating VAT on new homes thus impeding the expansion of much needed house building. It is all very disappointing.”
Richard Diment continued “The political parties are missing a trick. What we need is an urgent review of the barriers that are preventing new house building taking place. In addition developers’ levies need to be looked at if we are to kick start the housing market. A reduction in the rate of VAT to five per cent to the labour element of repairs and improvement work would really help kick-start the construction industry as we know from independent research that such a measure would create a £1.4 billion economic stimulus as well as creating up 81,500 jobs. The Liberal Democrats come closest by proposing a cut in VAT on repair work but by also proposing to add VAT to new houses such a policy will merely inhibit any already sluggish house building market.”
He concluded “What the main political parties should be addressing is the FMB’s three core themes of creating a new business environment to help small business thrive; tackle the need to improve skills and training; and take advantage of the emerging new opportunities to create a greener built environment. We have the ideas so it would be good if the politicians would start to listen if they are really serious about creating more homes.”