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Home renovations 'hold the key to economic recovery'

House building should be a priority for the government in order to help the economy sustain a recovery, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has argued.Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, stated investment in Britain's ageing housing stock will be an essential driver in ensuring the economy continues to head in the right direction over the coming months, with tackling the issue of fuel poverty key to driving construction activities."The chancellor must view the UK's homes as an infrastructure investment priority if he wants to fulfil his responsibilities by boosting growth and protecting families from rampant increases in the cost of energy," he commented."Unlike big rail or aviation projects, domestic repair and improvement projects can start right away, so the positive impact on the economy would be felt immediately."He added the government should not be talking about rolling back green levies, but instead should invest the £4 billion raised annually via carbon taxes such as the Carbon Floor Price into ensuring homes are made more energy efficient.In addition, reducing the level of VAT on home improvement projects to boost levels of energy efficiency would also provide a key driver for growth, he argued, and this is something half of all EU member states already provide to their residents.However, it appears these warnings may already be being listened to, as Mr Berry's comments follow the publication of new data from the Department for Communities and Local Government, which shows the UK's house building sector is going from strength to strength at present.Government statistics reveal that between July and September this year, 32,000 new homes were built across the country - a 16 per cent rise on the same period last year and the fastest rate of construction since the onset of the economic downturn in 2008.  

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