Contractors and builders give their latest reactions to Alistair Darling's package of measures for the construction industry

Garvis Snook, chief executive officer, Rok

I am disappointed that the chancellor has chosen to focus entirely on building new properties with his measures in this budget when there are already around a million homes standing empty across the UK. He has missed a massive opportunity to safeguard the jobs of skilled tradespeople by not cutting the VAT on work to repair and maintain existing properties. Refurbishment projects provide many more job opportunities than new build schemes do and they encourage better, more environmentally friendly use of what we already have rather than using up green spaces and scarce raw materials.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman, Home Builders Federation

We are delighted that money has been made available to unlock mothballed sites. We now need to work with the government to identify sites and get work started as quickly as possible. The benefits of doing so are quite clear in terms of employment and for the wider economy.

Brian Berry, director of external affairs, the Federation of Master Builders

The chancellor had an opportunity today to invest in our housing but instead has offered a lukewarm package of financial measures that will do little to increase the housing supply or to make our homes more energy efficient. The amounts on offer of £500m to support the construction industry and kick-start stalled construction projects of new homes, coupled with the £100m for local authorities to invest in energy efficient improvements are a drop in the ocean.