EASTBOURNE MP Stephen Lloyd led a debate about cowboy builders in Parliament last week.
There are more than 100,000 complaints about the home building industry every year, according to the Consumer Rights Expert, with research suggesting that an even higher number of people fall victim to conmen but do not bother to formally complain because they feel too embarrassed.
Mr Lloyd says the elderly and the vulnerable often fall victim to the ‘unscrupulous’ traders and he is calling for a formal consultation into a compulsory licensing system for the construction industry.
Mr Lloyd said, “I come from a business background; I have run my own small company and worked in the corporate sector.
“I am not a politician whose default position is ‘let’s have more regulation’.
“However, we have all seen the numerous television programmes about cowboy builders; too many rogue traders across the UK have been ripping people off for too long and giving legitimate tradesmen a bad name.
“I feel that any greater regulation in the building trade will not only serve to protect the public, but also help to restore faith in the vast majority of legitimate, hard-working and honest builders that we have.”
Consumer Affairs Minister Ed Davey said at the debate, “I appreciate my Hon friend, the Member of Parliament for Eastbourne raising this important matter in Parliament.
“I know just how much work he has put in on behalf of elderly people in Eastbourne.”
Ron Gainsford, chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute, said, “With the rising aged population and increased home ownership, this is an area long overdue for strict legal control.
“Reports, leaflets and codes of practice are all positive means of educating consumers, but if we are to protect the vulnerable elderly person from the professional experienced conman we need firm action.”