Scottish Building Federation says reduction on 15% VAT on home building works would help firms suffering in the recession

An industry body in Scotland has called on the government to cut VAT to help firms struggling to cope with the effects of the recession.

The Scottish Building Federation said a reduction to 5% on home building works would boost spending and help root out cash-in-hand “cowboy” builders by taking away their competitive advantage.

Michael Levack, chief executive of the federation, said the government had treated the construction industry like the “poor cousin” of other industries, which had received greater financial support from the state.

He said: "The construction industry's huge contribution to skills and employment in this country deserves proper recognition and support.

"As the recession continues to bite hard, construction's recovery literally needs to start at home - and cutting VAT on home building works to 5% would be the ideal place to start."?

The comments come after a survey carried out by the federation showed that spending on home improvement in Scotland would rise £80m over the next year if VAT was 5% instead of the current 15%.