Builders slam government's 'death by 100 cuts'

Published:  23 August, 2010

LONDON: The National Federation of Builders attacked the government for enacting "shotgun" policies that are causing severe damage to its 2500 members.

The trade body said in a statement on Wednesday that the "speedy formation of the Coalition gave the impression of government with a purpose. However, the Government appears to be taking a shotgun approach to construction by floating ideas and seeing what sticks."

Several government measures have combined to create a tough trading environment, according to the federation. "Continued restrictions on bank lending, planning uncertainty, swinging cuts and the VAT increase have subjected construction to a 'death by 100 cuts' over the first 100 days, undervaluing its contribution to our surroundings and to the economy," it said. "Looking ahead, as the industry adapts to lower demand and a requirement for different skills, the rise in the standard rate of VAT to 20% will only sign and rubber-stamp a charter for cowboy builders."

The federation said recent positive figures on construction output and insolvencies in the sector are a distortion because many building companies rushed to finish projects ahead of the promised cuts.

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