Brian Berry Chief Executive of the FMB said: “Steps the Government could take now to stimulate construction to help create jobs in the economy should include abandoning its plans to introduce VAT on heritage building; cut VAT on property repairs; take action on banks that discriminate against construction firms and their clients; open up public sector procurement to small firms; and introduce meaningful incentives to drive private domestic retrofitting.
“The Government will find it very difficult to get sustained growth in the economy while the construction industry remains depressed.
“Construction is essential to the well being of the wider economy because of the variety and quantity of job its creates from apprentice bricklayers to world leading architects.
“It’s a sad fact that the building industry has been in recession for four years with little hope of any immediate recovery.
“Until we get builders building again the economy is not going to recover.
“The construction industry holds the key to recovery which is why the Government needs to invest in capital projects rather than just focusing its attention on budget cuts.”
Judy Lowe, Deputy Chairman of CITB-ConstructionSkills, said: “Construction is fundamental to the health of the UK economy, contributing 8% to GDP, so its performance has a significant impact on overall growth.
“The Government’s recent investment in infrastructure is welcome but that takes a long time to convert to jobs.
“We need greater investment in other areas of the industry, in refurbishment, homes, hospitals, schools and the Green Deal.
“Construction can offer a route out of recession – every £1 invested in the sector returns £2.84 to the economy – but investment is critical and is needed now.”