Construction industry associations influenced budget decisions
Since the Autumn budget was announced by Phillip Hammond a week ago we have been reflecting upon the statement and its impact on the construction industry.
You may remember that at the dissolution of Parliament back in May some key trade associations announced manifestos for their election wishlists.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) had released a five point manifesto focusing on ensuring supply of skilled workers, increasing supply, quality & energy efficiency of new homes and boosting growth among SMEs.
Correspondingly, the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) & Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) grouped together to create their own five point plan. Energy efficiency, apprenticeship training and financial support for SMEs were common themes.
What the budget offers the construction industry
Looking at the budget proposals, it seems that on the shared points of each proposal, the government did take suggestions on board:
- £34m of funds have been ring fenced for construction training. Responding to requests to increase the quality of training, the introduction of T-levels and the launch of the National Retraining Scheme show a commitment to technical education.
- The demand for more homes was met with a new target of 300,000 built a year by 2020 (a figure not achieved since 1970), exceeding the FMB’s proposal. They plan to boost the housing market with a total of £44bn in capital funding, loans & guarantees
- SMEs will be supported through an extra £1.5bn for the Home Building Fund. The apprenticeship levy should raise £3bn a year to help finance smaller operations.
Whilst not every point has been addressed, overall the industry response to the budget announce has been positive. Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB even lauded it a ‘budget for builders’. Whether this will give the industry the boost it so needs remains to be seen. Brexit was clearly at the forefront of most budget decisions. With 8% of the UK’s construction workers being EU nationals, the real test will come in May 2019.