Green shoots of recovery for Britain’s builders

By Sarah Ann McCay09 July 2013

Britain’s building industry is showing signs of recovery but the UK’s government must show its support if growth is to continue, according to the latest industry research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The FMB’s State of Trade Survey showed positive results across the country for net balance for workloads, expected workloads and enquiries in the second quarter of 2013. This is the first time all figures have shown growth since 2007.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said, “After one of the toughest and most sustained economic downturns since the Second World War, it is encouraging to see conditions may be easing for Britain’s beleaguered builders.

"It is a testament to the resilience, work ethic and professionalism of SME (small and medium enterprises) builders, many of whom have had to cut their cloth accordingly and eat into their profits to maintain staffing and capacity in the hope that a better day would come.”

Noting that the building trade still has a long way to go before figures get back to pre-2008 levels, Mr Berry called on the government to underscore its commitment to the industry.

“It is now more important than ever that the government acts to secure this nascent recovery. Policies such as the Green Deal and Funding for Lending schemes, which should have given a boost to construction SMEs, continue to underperform and aren’t providing the improved access to finance and new work which they promised.

"The FMB’s recent report into procurement practices showed that public contracts too often remain unsuitably packaged and difficult to access for most small construction firms.

"Help to Buy is still in its early days, but seems to be having a positive impact on the property market. Ministers must now do more to meet calls from house builders to reduce regulation in order to get more homes built,” he said.

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