FMB leader predicts difficult months ahead

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders

The head of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has predicted tough times ahead for the construction sector, after the release of the latest ONS figures yesterday. Construction output fell by 0.4% in April, which is bad news for the whole construction sector but is especially concerning for small businesses given that repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) work fell by 2.4%, the FMB, leader argued.

Brian Berry, the FMB’s chief executive, said: “Signs of stagnation in construction output should concern policymakers at a time when the smallest firms in the sector are already struggling to stay afloat. The cost-of-living crisis hitting consumers, coupled with persistent difficulties in affording pricey building materials and recruiting skilled tradespeople, mean that the months ahead will become increasingly difficult to navigate for these local construction firms.

“At a time when these local building firms should be recovering from the pandemic they are instead entering another period where survival will be their primary aim. It’s imperative that the Government works to ease the pressures, whether via a VAT cut on all home improvements to support the struggling repair, maintenance, and improvement sector, or via the upcoming planning reforms to reverse the decades of decline experienced by small housing developers.”