The Federation of Master Builders will launch its election manifesto in parliament today

The Federation of Master Builders has called on the next government to create a dedicated secretary of state for housing to address the country’s shortage of homes.

To tackle the falling number of new homes being built and the failure to retrofit at scale the country’s existing 29 million homes, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said that a new dedicated housing department with a secretary of state for housing is needed.

The FMB will launch its election manifesto, ‘Growth from the Ground Up’ in Parliament today.

Brian Berry FMB

FMB chief executive Brian Berry

Other key government asks in its manifesto include introducing dedicated planning resources within local authorities for small house builders and setting up developer forums.

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To unlock small sites, the FMB has said the government needs to ensure provisions in the NPPF are being followed at a local level.

On skills, the FMB is calling on the government to develop a construction skills plan that outlines a long-term delivery schedule for vocational skills.

The FMB has said that the next government should create clear training pathways for prospective builders and that competence standards should be set for retrofitting work.

The trade body for small and medium-sized construction firms has also called for the introduction of a licensing scheme for building firms and sole traders operating in the repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) sector.

Chief executive of the FMB, Brian Berry said the next government must ensure that “the building profession finally rids itself of cowboy builders. It’s not right that anyone can call themselves a builder without any minimum level of competence, therefore we want to see the new government work with the industry to make this a reality.”

In addition, the FMB manifesto suggests a reduction in VAT on repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) work to help small builders and encourage homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient.

On the manifesto, Berry said: “As we approach the General Election the new government needs to address the growing housing crisis if it is to stimulate economic growth. Without an adequate supply of homes, people can’t move freely, which stifles growth and opportunities. The FMB’s General Election manifesto calls on the new government to take urgent steps to boost house building rates; tackle the ongoing skills crisis in construction; support the rollout of energy efficiency upgrades to existing homes; and introduce a scheme to set a minimum competency level for builders.”

He added that the manifesto sets out policies that will help builders to drive long-term growth.

Furthermore, he emphasised that the FMB is showing that local builders, “who are too often forgotten about by politicians, are part of the solution to creating a more dynamic country”.