Construction group wants legislative burden slimmed down to make the industry more efficient

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has called for the government's planned legislative measures to be outlined today in the Queen's speech to “help, not hinder” the construction industry.

The Queen will read her speech later on this morning, when she will outline the prime minister's agenda for the year ahead.

Gordon Brown has previewed the Queen's annual speech with a draft legislative statement in May for the past two years, but it is believed there will be changes this year in the form of responses to the economic downturn.

Reports have hinted that a new statutory code of conduct on bank lending could force lenders to give customers detailed notice of withdrawal or alteration of credit. Banks could also face fines if they do not treat their customers fairly.

Speaking ahead of the state opening of parliament, Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the FMB, said the “efficient operation and competitiveness of the construction industry is essential to the fulfilment of the government's commitment to improve public services and infrastructure”.

The FMB is calling on the UK government to use this year's Queen speech as “an opportunity to treat legislation as a last resort, not a first option, and to focus instead on simplifying the existing regulatory burden”.

Said Berry: “The delivery of new schools, hospitals, affordable housing and eco-homes, all depend on the success of the construction sector to deliver.

“The government says it wants to help the construction industry, but restrains it by constantly introducing new regulations or changing the existing ones, thus increasing the size and complexity of business obligations. This drains business resources, disproportionately impacts on SMEs and increases the competitive advantage of the informal economy. All of this impacts on the overall competitiveness of the construction sector.”

Expected to be in the speech is the Banking Reform Bill, which would allow the Bank of England, the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority to intervene sooner to prevent another bank crisis. It was introduced early and has already begun its passage through parliament, but some reports suggest it may be extended to include greater powers to take financial businesses into public ownership.