Builders' Merchants News

Allan Durning: RMI could create a market worth billions.

Budget 'at odds' with industry forecast model

Published:  28 April, 2009

UK: "Forecasting is a 'black art' but the chancellor's April 2009 Budget statement takes it to new levels," said Allan Durning, chief executive of the National Buying Group.

"The Government states that 'return to growth of 1.25pc in 2010, with the economy booming once again soon after, expanding by 3.25pc in 2011' seems to be at odds with our current thinking in the construction industry and our forecast models. Who is correct? I hope the chancellor is.

"Having just watched Alistair Darling's Budget, it is difficult to put into words the extent of the meltdown in the UK's public finances.

"The size of numbers he talks about borrowing is jaw-dropping and little or none seems to be coming our way in the construction industry.

"This Government has gone on the record stating that our industry is a key driver to leading the economy out of recession; well you could have fooled me with this Budget.

"The industry is facing possibly the largest decline in output this year in the region of 12% according to the CPA. This Government has missed the opportunity to stimulate the industry by taking advantage of the green light from Brussels regarding VAT thresholds on domestic RMI; tackling the issue of empty properties within the current housing stock and stimulating that energy efficiency requirement within the existing stock, creating a new market worth £6.5bn, according to the Federation of Master Builders.

"It's frustrating to watch the sector suffering a downturn which could be prolonged, while we all know that measures should be taken to stimulate RMI in the existing housing stock and create a potential new market worth billions in green products that will significantly contribute to this Government's low carbon agenda going forward."