A budget taking account of the need for energy-efficiency in the UK housing stock would boost the construction industry and help householders to protect themselves against rising fuel bills the FMB said in a letter to Chancellor George Osborne.
“By 2016 9 million British households could be in fuel poverty” said Brian Berry, the FMB Chief Executive. “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 said the FMB wanted ministers to rethink the unrealistic timeline for zero-carbon homes, a target set in 2006 before the economic slump. The FMB’s own survey of small housing developers has 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. Mr Berry said that this will discourage even more developers from building new homes, further exacerbating the already 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” Mr Berry concluded. “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.”