In response to the recent update from the ONS, showing that construction recovery has slowed, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has called on the Chancellor to use this month’s Spending Review to lay the groundwork for an ambitious long-term energy efficiency retrofit strategy to help the industry recover to pre-coronavirus levels.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The Government needs to seize the opportunity to set out a new strategy to upgrade our existing homes to make them greener and more energy efficient. Short-term schemes only help in part. What is needed is a long-term strategy. The Chancellor should use the Spending Review to announce an extension to the Green Homes Grant scheme, to give businesses confidence to take part, and accelerate growth in the construction sector. That means bringing forward the full £9.2 billion pledged in the manifesto, so that the industry has a clear pipeline of work.
“It means identifying the skills gaps and investing in the businesses that can do the training. We should also be making the most of the current trend for homeowners to extend and convert their homes, by cutting VAT to 5% on home improvements so that consumers have more money to invest in retrofit at the same time.
The Government’s announcement of a Green Jobs Taskforce also reflects calls by the FMB for a strategic approach to net-zero, with home energy retrofit at its heart. Brian continued: “SMEs in the construction sector stand ready to build back greener, but they will only be able to do so if they are supported to train and recruit highly skilled tradespeople. It’s right that this strategic approach to green jobs has home energy retrofit at its heart, complementing the FMB’s call for a national retrofit strategy.”