As the Chancellor George Osborne announces his first budget under a majority Conservative government, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) provides its reaction to today’s Budget.
With the Chancellor’s fiscal priorities laid bare in today’s announcements, the CIOB responds to the government’s core commitments that affect the construction industry and built environment.
Eddie Tuttle, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager said: “Regional infrastructure is vital for economic growth. Although there is a clear case for devolution, local authorities will need to react quickly to harness the opportunities for local growth and employment. Whilst this announcement details a commitment to devolve more powers, it remains to be seen how effective implementation will be across the UK.”
“Alongside devolution, there is a pressing need to improve access to finance for SMEs. With a significant proportion of the construction industry either self-employed or linked to an SME, the announcement that SME builders will get a £100m boost through the Housing Growth Partnership is welcome. However, more must be done to find solutions to the housing crisis and it is concerning that the Office for Budget Responsibility predicts there will be 14,000 fewer affordable homes built as a direct result of social housing rent cuts.
“The CIOB welcomes the rise in employment allowance to £3,000, which will allow small firms to employ four people on the national living wage without paying any national insurance.
“The government has set itself an ambitious target of delivering 3 million apprenticeships over the next five years – equivalent to six hundred thousand new apprenticeships a year. The introduction of a new apprenticeship levy is a big ask for business, but one that recognises the acute skills shortages industries such as construction will face in the future unless significant investment is made in training. And if the government is to deliver on its ambitions, more needs to be done to promote construction as a viable career path.
“The introduction of the National Living Wage is another promising addition, and the CIOB now asks whether the government should go further and increase the minimum wage for apprentices, which is likely to improve the appeal for individuals considering this route into industry.
With an upsurge in the economy, the CIOB is predicting greater employment opportunities within construction, which already accounts for 10 per cent of the total workforce. Given the importance of the sector to the economy, the CIOB will continue to work with policy makers to promote and deliver real reform to the industry.”