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Construction 'key to ending recession'

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has highlighted the need for the UK to build itself out of recession.

Chief executive of the FMB Brian Berry said in response to the news that the UK economy shrank by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2012 that the financial situation is being made worse by a lack of support for the construction industry.

The possible return to recession in the UK comes against the backdrop of slightly rising construction output during the final months of last year, with Mr Berry arguing that greater capital investment in the building trade could deliver a potential boost to the country as a whole.

He stated: "Our members are ready to help Britain build its way back to growth, in the process helping meet the spiralling housing crisis and improving energy efficiency in homes and businesses. But we can't do this alone.

"Government must meet construction firms halfway and find imaginative new ways of increasing activity in the sector, particularly for small, local builders who may not immediately benefit from major infrastructure investment."

According to Mr Berry, measures that would help to deliver this upturn in UK construction include the easing of planning red tape for new projects, incentivising a focus on domestic energy efficiency by reducing VAT on green materials and also freeing up large swathes of additional land for development over the coming months.

Earlier this month, the FMB published the findings of its latest State of Trade Survey, which revealed how almost one-third (30 per cent) of UK building firms could face laying off staff over the coming year if the economic situation does not improve considerably.

Workloads decreased for developers across the country last year and this trend is expected to continue into at least the first half of 2013, meaning an uncertain next few months face the UK construction sector. 

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