Minister expected to approve national extension of anti-cowboy scheme after favourable DTI review of pilots.
Construction minister Brian Wilson is expected to give the go-ahead next week to the national extension of the government's anti-cowboy quality mark scheme. It is understood that the government will provide £10m funding for the initiative over four years.

A DTI report on pilot schemes in Birmingham and Somerset has recommended that the quality mark should be rolled out across the country over the next four years.

It also suggests that the DTI should eventually relinquish the management of the scheme to a public–private partnership of government, industry and consumer representatives.

A Whitehall source confirmed that the DTI would probably retain a stake in the scheme, and that it would provide funding of £2.5m a year for the next four years.

The Federation of Master Builders made a contribution to the DTI's report in which it criticised the quality mark for failing to target the domestic market accurately.

The federation also took the opportunity to lobby the DTI on the issue of VAT on repair and maintenance. As a result of this, it is understood that the DTI is to raise the industry's concerns about VAT in a letter to the Treasury.

The federation said it wanted VAT reduced from 17.5% to 5% for domestic repair and maintenance work.

A DTI spokesperson refused to confirm that Wilson was about to give his official blessing to the anti-cowboy scheme, but said: "The minister has received the review report and has enclosed it along with a letter to the Treasury highlighting the industry's concerns over the need to reduce VAT to 5% for domestic work."

Last week, Building revealed that the government has spent £2.5m so far on piloting the scheme. This comes to £16,891 for each contractor signed up.

The quality mark pilots were launched in July last year. The scheme is designed to rid the industry of cowboy builders.