While I welcome proposals by the UK Government to extend new rights to consumers to help tackle rogue traders, the plans appear not to deal with the increasing problem of “cash-in-hand” builders.
In difficult economic times a growing number of consumers seem willing to turn to firms who will work “cash in hand”.
Our recent survey on the issue found that more than half of firms had been pressurised by customers to “lose the VAT” on at least one building job in the past year – and 42 per cent of firms had lost business because they refused to do so, costing them anywhere between £500 and £200,000.
Therefore it is concerning that a growing number of consumers are flouting the law and taking business away from legitimate VAT-registered firms.
We have consistently argued that the Treasury should cut VAT on all building works to five per cent. Not only do we believe that this would stimulate demand for the struggling construction industry, it would also encourage consumers to choose registered and accredited firms and go a considerable way to stamping out rogue traders.