Ahead of the 2020 Budget, FIS, the representative body for the finishing and interiors sector has written to the new Chancellor, Rt hon Rishi Sunak MP.  In this letter FIS welcomes the new Government’s focus on the Constructor Sector Deal, but cautions that legacy and liquidity issues mean the sector needs support to effect real and profound change in a meaningful time frame.   The letter then looks at seven critical areas where intervention would be welcomed including the introduction of a Building Safety Fund (extending the current remediation fund), a review of insurance provision for the sector, more leadership on fair payment issues through public sector contracts, a review of business rates and how this encourages investment in buildings, consultation on resolving credit issues in construction, reconsidering Reverse Charge VAT and extension of the way that Apprentice Levy Vouchers can be invested in our training infrastructure.

FIS CEO, Iain McIlwee, stated, “The industry needs to look to the future, but this is difficult with the shadow of the past looming over us.  To step beyond this is about marginal gain and hence we have drawn out seven key areas where Government could intervene.  The simply fact is that the industry is evolving, but it is difficult to step beyond the past when many of the same behaviours are enduring and we are hampered by a lack of credit constraining investment and operating in an environment where risk has been parcelled up and pushed down the supply chain in contracts that are just unfair.  Construction is such a huge driver for the economy accounting for around 10% of employment, the housing crisis still looms large, we need to get on top of sustainability issues and we have buildings in urgent need of refurbishment to ensure that they are safe, these must be priorities for the Chancellor and we look forward to hearing how he is going to address the suggestions that we have raised sit at the very heart of our industry and society”.

You can read the full letter here:  Letter_to_Chancellor 2020