`Cowboys' cost millions

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Cowboy builders are costing the country pounds 400m a year in unpaid taxes, as complaints about home improvements are rocketing, according to new research.

The report, commissioned by the AA, calls on Parliament, consumer groups and trade associations to implement a nine-point plan to combat cowboys. These include forcing tradesmen by law to supply detailed invoices, a requirement for insurance-backed warranties for work above a certain cost and experts settling simple disputes via an arbitration scheme. Glenda Cooper