Philip Hammond delivered his first Autumn Statement yesterday and it was good news for the construction industry.
The Autumn Statement’s commitment to a new £23bn national productivity investment fund, £3.7bn to build 140,000 new homes and £1.8bn to support local infrastructure, home building and skills needs will help to bolster confidence amongst employers to invest in skills and training.
Stephen Radley, Director of Policy at Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), said: “[Yesterday’s] announcements offer more certainty for the pipeline of work ahead, not just nationally but at a regional and local level in infrastructure and housing.
“This will help to boost business confidence following the uncertainties thrown up by Brexit. The local and regional investment should help bring more small firms into the supply chain, where much of the training takes place.
“With action on several fronts to boost homebuilding, it’s vital that we have the workforce in place to deliver the extra homes. That’s why CITB has joined forces with the Home Building Federation to set up the Homes Building Skills Partnership to support businesses across the UK to address their training and recruitment needs.”
“The Chancellor wants a ‘housing market that works for everyone’ and central to this is empowering small local house builders.”
The extra resources announced by the Chancellor in yesterday’s Autumn Statement for social housing and infrastructure investment will also be welcomed by the construction industry.
The promised additional funding should help to address the need for more affordable homes and tackle the shortfalls in the UK’s transport infrastructure. It will also help to offset the impact of faltering in private sector investment on industry workloads.
The Government’s commitment to supporting a sustained increase in investment in built environment is also encouraging. The new National Productivity Investment Fund promises to add £23bn in high-value investment from 2017-18 to 2021-22, with the government targeting this spending at areas that are critical for productivity: housing, research and development and economic infrastructure.
Doubling capital investment on house building and relaxing the timeline for deficit reduction is the right way to boost economic growth, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said in response to the Autumn Statement.
Sarah McMonagle, Director of External Affairs at the FMB, said: “The Chancellor’s commitment to double annual capital spending on housing by 2020 demonstrates that he understands that house building and economic growth are intrinsically linked.
“The £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund is welcome and could go some way to solving the housing crisis. The burden of funding local infrastructure for new homes should not fall entirely on private house builders – however, as council budgets have been stripped back, local authorities have increasingly looked to developers, including even the very smallest developers, to plug these funding gaps.
“The Chancellor wants a ‘housing market that works for everyone’ and central to this is empowering small local house builders. We look forward to the Government’s forthcoming Housing White Paper which we hope will include further interventions to boost housing delivery through SME house builders, including a presumption in favour of smaller scale developments.”
Professional Electrician will be sharing more industry views and comments on the Autumn Statement in the coming days.