A BUILDER this week held a campaign in the centre of Newcastle calling on the Government to safeguard around 250,000 jobs in the UK by reducing the cost of private repair and maintenance work.
London-based Rok, which employs over 200 staff in the North East, held a ‘Stop the Rot’ road show at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle city centre in order to dispense maintenance and repair advice for people looking to cut down costs during the recession.
It also asked people to sign a petition on the Downing Street website, http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/repairingbritain/ requesting a reduction in VAT on property repair work to 5% – a measure it believes would provide a much-needed stimulus to the sector.
The petition is one of the campaign’s many goals to help support the construction industry and, in turn, boost the wider economy.
Other measures include keeping people employed in the construction and maintenance industries and encouraging the public to take an interest in the maintenance and renovation of their own homes and local environment.
The firm is also calling for an audit of empty buildings by local authorities to identify properties needing attention, at a time when the country needs 240,000 additional housing units a year and only 60,000 are being built.
Neil Jukes, area leader for Rok in Newcastle, said: “Many people are unaware of the tax inequality that allows those building new homes to be exempt, while those making improvements to existing properties are charged at 15%.
“With unemployment increasing and an increasingly desperate need for low-cost housing, Rok believes the general public should get involved.”