Industry Figures Respond to the Budget

Industry Figures Respond to the Budget

Industry figures react to the Chancellor’s announcements of “long term solutions to long term projects”.

These included funds allocated to major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail 2, HS3 and a trans-Pennine road tunnel.

The industry should see a more immediate boost from an extra £161 million to bring forward the upgrade of the M62 by 2 years.

Ambitious plans to build new homes and develop a number of major new rail links across the UK have been welcomed but the government must also look to tackle growing skills shortages, according to OneWay. This is a view mirrored by a number of industry insiders.

An analysis by the rail and construction recruitment company OneWay outlined how investment in a number of major projects, announced today by George Osborne, could drive thousands of roles across the UK.

However, the organisation also insisted that more must be done to get higher numbers of skilled and trained professionals operating in the sector to allow these projects to get off the ground and remain operational.

Rob Oliver, Chief Executive of the CEA (Construction Equipment Association), said:

“The Budget Statement told us a number of things we already knew – not least that the export led growth predicted by the Chancellor a parliament ago has proved to be illusory.

Many of the other major, and emerging, economies are not performing well and as a result are not buying our UK manufactured construction machines in the numbers we need.

It was, however, good to see him give a nod to the value of the new National Infrastructure Commission and their championing of Northern transport links, plus Crossrail 2.

HS3, the upgraded Manchester to Leeds rail link, has been given the “green light” but let’s hope it doesn’t encounter too many red lights on its way to delivery, as other major projects have.”

Meanwhile, the FMB laments a ‘missed opportunity’.

This Budget may prove to be a missed opportunity in the Government’s race against time to meet its own housing targets, warns the Federation of Master Builders.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The Government has set itself a target of a million new homes by 2020. That is rightly ambitious, but the continuing gap between what’s being built and what needs to be built makes hitting that target more difficult by the day.

Official statistics show that annual housing completions in England totalled just over 140,000 in 2015, a long way short of the 200,000 homes we need every year to hit one million. We are nearly 12 months into the current Parliament and the Government is already falling well behind on its targets.

We recognise that the Government is working on a number of fronts to speed up the planning process and intervene to support first time buyers, and some of the measures in today’s Budget are welcome steps forward. Yet these announcements are limited in scope and won’t signal the step change that we need to see. We cannot afford to lose momentum in the battle to beat the housing crisis.”


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