Small builders under threat say Federation of Master Builders
Tough times are showing no sign or letting up for small builders, say the Federation of Master Builders. The FMB found in a survey of their members that as many as one third of small building firms have shed staff since the turn of the year. They say that falling workloads and rising costs are forcing many SME construction companies to pull back their operations and cut costs.
Most FMB members who took part in the survey are small builders, working in domestic repair, maintenance and improvement. The survey has found that for most firms, workloads are falling and they are falling fast. The FMB say the rapid drop in work they found is especially worrying because the home improvement market is the life blood of small building firms.
The FMB had thought that things were looking up for its members with some signs last year that small builders were getting more work on. But the survey has dashed any hopes of an immediate recovery. The FMB are calling on the government to address the needs of the sector by cutting VAT and boosting home improvements amongst other measures including increasing spending on social housing repairs.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said, “Our members have for years eaten into their own profit margins in a bid to maintain capacity – but that cannot continue. We urgently need to see a cut in VAT from 20 percent to 5 percent on home renovation and repair, as householders simply can’t afford to get work done to make their homes more comfortable, affordable and energy-efficient.”