Will We See A UK Construction Strategy In The Spring Budget?

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Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E. info@burflex.co.uk

Will We See A UK Construction Strategy In The Spring Budget?

Will We See A UK Construction Strategy In The Spring Budget?

It’s no secret that the UK’s construction industry has been struggling in recent years, particularly since the vote to leave the EU.

Building recently reported that chancellor Sajid Javid is expected to reveal details about the government’s new construction strategy in his spring budget, which is due to be delivered to the public on 11 March this year.

One thing that’s expected to be included in the budget is a series of pledges on infrastructure spending. The strategy is also believed to address complaints that the current system used to evaluate the economic benefits of spending favours London and the south-east of the country, which has historically led to less money being spent in other regions of the UK.

Simon Rawlinson, head of strategic research and insight at Arcadis, told the publication that it’s “widely expected” that the budget will be “accompanied by both the government’s construction strategy and the national infrastructure strategy”.

He pointed to the government’s support for the Construction Innovation Hub and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority as important indicators of what’s to come.

The former was established to explore ways of modernising the country’s construction sector and the latter has requested evidence about the viability of taking a platform approach to design for manufacture and assembly.

“[Javid needs to] balance the desire for early and highly visible deliverables with the need to use the investment as carefully and as effectively as possible to increase national productivity, progress towards net-zero and improve quality of life,” Mr Rawlinson asserted

There has been some indication that the sector is making something of a recovery though. The latest data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that there was a 1.9 per cent increase in construction activity across the UK in November.

This is the largest monthly increase recorded since January of last year, when a bounce of 2.4 per cent was recorded, Today’s Conveyancer noted.

Encouragingly, there was a 2.4 per cent increase in new work for construction businesses, while in the period from September to November, new work grew by 1.6 per cent. Infrastructure projects gave a particular boost to the figures, with new work in this area increasing by three per cent in that period.

New private commercial work was also up by 1.8 per cent in that timeframe, the news provider noted.

Director at Search Acumen Andy Sommerville told the website that the country’s construction industry is “on a threshold”.

“The new-found clarity over the political situation has started to provide some necessary reassurance but we also need decisive action to ensure we take a step in the right direction,” he stated. 

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), meanwhile, said that there is hope for the sector but that this data isn’t enough to point to a prolonged turnaround in the sector’s fortunes.

“It is too soon to tell whether this will be a longer term trend, as some sectors such as private house building and repair and maintenance continue to see sluggish growth,” he cautioned.

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