THE man behind Britain's biggest and most successful
organisation for professional tradespeople, fears cowboy
builders and roofers are being given a licence to operate
across the country.
Kevin Byrne, Chief Executive of the Checkatrade group,
claims a new summer hike in the Insurance Premium Tax
(IPT) from 10 to 12 per cent could have a serious effect
on industry standards, already damaged by rogue
This will be the third hike since November 2015 - and it
means the rate will have doubled from six per cent to
12 per cent in just over 18 months.
This could have implications for an industry where
cowboy builders are fleecing the vulnerable and the elderly out of
thousands every week.
It is a move that the British Insurers Association, the
Federation of Master Builders and the Federation of Small
Businesses have already condemned and expressed their
concerns to ministers
Now Mr Byrne is echoing those fears and feels we
should be doing more to to deter rogue traders and not
punish those tradespeople who run an honest business
“Builders,roofers, plumbers, electricians and all other trades,are being asked to cough up more and more and yet some of my members feel they are already squeezed enough and new price rises only benefit the cowboys,” said Kevin.
“We are in an industry where rogue traders give the good guys a bad name, a few bad apples making the rest of the barrel rotten. We want to protect our image, but I fear that by pushing up costs even more many tradespeople may decide to cut corners by not having insurance at all.
“Cowboy builders often succeed because they have little or no overheads, pay no tax or insurance and can charge far less by doing cash in hand work.
“Those tradespeople who are members of Checkatrade are proud that they offer a genuine professional, carefully vetted and approved service and giving residents right across the country peace of mind.
“Some businesses may feel another price rise will be something their company cannot bear the burden of and if they decide to trade without insurance then the only losers will be the community who get no guarantees or after sales service if a contract goes wrong.
“We have fought long and hard to establish high standards in this industry and we do not those standards eroded by measures that I believe will only encourage uninsured and unlicensed operators nationwide.”
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The doubling of IPT over the past two years has troubling implications for construction businesses and home owners alike.
“This stealth tax, which is set to rise for the third time in 18 months, effectively provides an additional competitive advantage to unscrupulous and uninsured builders.
“By driving up the costs of insurance, it punishes those businesses that play by the rules and make sure that they are always covered.
“This is increasing the danger that home owners could be tempted to opt for uninsured builders who are able to offer a more competitive quote.
“It’s vital that we get a commitment from the Government that this third rise of IPT will be the last for this Parliament.”
James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the Association of British Insurers, said: “IPT is a tax on businesses, especially SMEs that often operate on very tight margins and that do the right thing by purchasing insurance to help manage their risks.
“At a time of continued economic uncertainty, with many firms facing increasing costs, the last thing they need is a further hike in IPT.
“Unlike VAT, no element of IPT can be reclaimed by businesses meaning they will have to absorb these extra costs – this could cost jobs, drive up prices or companies may decide to reduce their insurance cover, putting them at risk if something goes wrong. Enough is enough, give firms a break and freeze IPT.”