The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has called on the Chancellor to invest in property repair, maintenance and improvement to create jobs in every region and boost much-needed local growth.

The call comes in advance of the Spring Budget which is due to be delivered by Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to Parliament on 6 March.

The government has previously announced increased spending on energy efficiency for homes, businesses, and public services amounting to £12.6 billion. The BMF has not seen this spending fully materialise.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “Writing to the Chancellor in advance of the Spring Budget we have urged the government to embark on a long-term programme to utilise this funding through a nationwide programme of retrofitting homes that will help cut household bills and reduce carbon emissions.  

“To succeed, this must be underwritten by a proper implementation plan that lays out how local authorities and other delivery partners will complete the improvements that many homes urgently need.”

The BMF also expressed concern that the government’s Energy Efficiency Taskforce, under joint chairs Lord Callanan and Dame Alison Rose, came to a premature end in September 2023. 

Its work remains unpublished and the BMF wants this to be made available to the National Retrofit Hub, so the evidence gathered, and its assessments and evaluations, are not lost to practitioners undertaking this vital work.

The BMF has also called for the tax treatment of low-carbon fuels to be incentivised, so they cost less than diesel. BMF members who have switched to cleaner, green fuels incur a significant cost differential, typically about 60p per litre over standard diesel, which is a squeeze on margins. 

John Newcomb said: “To ease pressure on members struggling to absorb rising costs, the BMF has asked for an HVO tax differential, around 60p per litre, for 12-18 months.

“This would not only demonstrate the government’s support for the decarbonisation of transport, but also help those companies who are feeling the pinch financially remain true to decarbonisation.”