The National Federation of Builders has said its financial problems have been solved despite reporting a deficit of nearly a quarter of a million pounds for the year ending 31 March 2003.
Chief executive Barry Stephens said that £76,000 of the £223,000 deficit was a "one-off reorganisation cost" caused by the restructuring of the 3000-member organisation last autumn.

The NFB was forced to change its structure and renew its focus on policy and membership value after a shortfall last September caused by lower-than-expected recruitment.

The restructuring programme entailed a full-scale review of expenditure, resulting in a four-year business plan to turn the deficit into a "significant cash surplus".

Stephens, speaking at the NFB's annual meeting on Wednesday, reported an operating surplus of £43,000 for the last quarter of the year ending 31 March.

He conceded that the year had presented "a number of challenges" but said he was optimistic that the NFB would bounce back. He said: "We accepted the realities before us, secured the support of the regions and reshaped the organisation to meet those challenges."

n The NFB has replaced its chairman, Bill Rabbetts, with Alistair McHarg, proprietor of the Hereford-based property investor and developer Biddle Properties.