As the Chancellor Philip Hammond announces the 2016 Autumn Statement, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) provides its reaction to the Government’s core commitments to construction and the wider economy.
David Hawkes, CIOB Policy Manager, said: “In the face of rising government debt, the temptation is to cut capital spending. The CIOB welcomes the Chancellor’s announcement to commit greater levels of investment in the built environment, as well as further funding for improving productivity and innovation. Well designed and constructed built assets and infrastructure provide enormous value over time, both enabling and contributing to productivity gains.
“It’s clear that the Chancellor recognises that improving productivity is vital to economic prosperity. In construction, we know what can be done to improve productivity, but require certainty for firms to invest in innovation, skills and training in order to support it. For this reason, we welcome the £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund, to be spent on improving innovation and infrastructure over the next five years. The CIOB’s report into productivity published earlier this year found strong support from industry and MPs for the public sector to invest in construction to help increase productivity. Given this view, we are keen to ensure the fund recognises the contribution that the industry makes to improving productivity in the wider economy.
“Regional investment that adds value throughout the country is also welcomed. Closing the investment and productivity gap between London and the rest of the UK is much-needed – so the funding commitments for housing and local transport networks are particularly encouraging. But for this to work, investment must be tied to training and job creation.
“We are also pleased to see the £13 million support to help businesses improve managerial skills, but await further details on eligibility and distribution. As the professional body for construction management, we know first-hand the value management professionals bring to the industry, and the high degree of influence they have over productivity through their role in overseeing the workforce and the programme of works. Essentially, investing in management professionals has the potential to transform construction’s productivity.”