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Building sector 'needs image overhaul'

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has called on the government to make good on its commitments to improve the image of the UK construction sector, as failure to do so could hinder a sustained economic recovery.

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said the announcement that the TrustMark scheme for the accreditation of reputable tradespeople is to be expanded is positive news for both the industry and members of the public.

It will help to stamp out unscrupulous contractors who prey on unsuspecting clients, carrying out shoddy and substandard work.

Indeed, the challenge for both the building sector and the government will now be to make the public more aware of the initiative, helping to drive up standards and ensure the best quality work is carried out in homes up and down the UK.

Mr Berry stated: "The FMB will continue to work with central government and the Local Government Association to help deliver these commitments."

However, with a lack of finance being offered to the sector by many banks and lenders at present, it remains imperative that Westminster places pressure on these bodies to lend more to small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the sector.

Indeed, recent research from the FMB showed 69 per cent of its members claim to face ongoing difficulties in securing public sector contracts, while construction SMEs continue to be disproportionately turned down for loans and overdrafts at a cost to the national economy.

His comments follow last month's perceived lack of support for SME builders in George Osborne's latest Comprehensive Spending Review, with the omission of any considerable aid or new incentives for the low-carbon sector highlighted by the FMB.

Despite massive investment in UK infrastructure - more than £3 billion - set out in the plan, low-carbon schemes would appear to be something the coalition is failing to adequately endorse.

"The government's industrial strategy can help the industry recover from recession, but only if the commitments outlined are implemented without delay," Mr Berry concluded. 

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