A CLACTON resident was forced to fork out £70,000 to fix restoration works that had left her house “untenable”, it is claimed.

The revelation came as MPs discussed “rogue builders” during a debate in Westminster Hall on Tuesday.

MPs claimed the repair, maintenance and improvement sector is currently a “consumer minefield” and called for regulation.

But a minister said in response that the Government is not convinced by the arguments for a licensing scheme.

Clacton MP Giles Watling said a constituent of his paid £70,000 for restoration work which left her house “untenable” and cost another £70,000 to fix.

“I’m amazed the Government is not minded to regulate on this,” he said, adding “this would be to the benefit of legitimate good builders”.

He told MPs: “The time has come to regulate now.”

Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier, who led the debate on the issue, said the issue of “rogue builders” is “not widespread but it is appalling when it occurs”.

He criticised the current methods that consumers may currently use to seek redress, saying: “The reality is that rogue builders hold all the cards. They can do whatever they like and there is no recourse.”

“The reason there is so much rogue building going on is because it is an easy way to rip people off,” he added.

Mr Garnier said: “The answer must lie in regulation, with something such as a compulsory licence that the builder will lose if he or she falls foul of the rules. Rules, by the way, that can and will save lives.”

Mr Garnier has previously proposed a private member’s bill which sought to require the Government to look into the possibility of a licensing regime for builders operating in the small end of the market.

Business minister Nigel Huddleston said: “This must be stopped, and the Government is committed to working with the industry and local authority trading standards to improve standards of competence and consumer protection and to take action against rogue builders.”

He said the Government is “not convinced” the introduction of a licensing scheme in such a large and varied sector would be practical or cost-effective.