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Homeowners help cowboys flourish

Homeowners are keeping Britain's tax-dodging builders in business, a new survey published by the National federation of Builders has revealed.
UK homeowners could be keeping thousands of cowboy builders in business by accepting cash-in-hand deals. More than half of all homeowners in an NFB poll said they would employ a tax-dodging builder if it saved them money - despite frequent horror stories of cowboy builders and their shoddy workmanship.

The findings coincide with new government figures estimating that £4.6 billion of building work is carried out by cowboy builders operating on the black economy.

National Federation of Builders chief executive Tony Maynard said: 'Rogue builders tempt customers by offering to waive VAT charges on building work in return for cash-in-hand payment.

'Faced with this irresistible temptation of a cheaper deal, more and more homeowners are taking the bait and falling prey to the cowboys.

'The end result is usually a bodge job, endless delays or even unfinished work, but homeowners have little or no comeback when things go belly-up.'

There are over 100,000 complaints against rogue builders reported every year, while the Office of Fair Trading alone receives up to 200 calls a day.

The NFB poll also revealed more than half of UK homeowners don' t know how to check if a builder is reputable or not.

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