The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has welcomed the raft of measures to support employees in the Budget, but is concerned that a lack of commitment to infrastructure projects, the construction of new properties and introduction of home energy-retrofitting measures could impact on the economic outlook for the industry.
With the building materials supply chain sector playing a significant part in the UK economy, the BMF had hoped to see more being announced to generate infrastructure projects, as well as new homes and a more energy efficient housing stock.
John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “We welcome measures which will help employees in the industry, including childcare support and changes to pension rules.
“Our members prioritised recruitment, staff retention, careers support, training and apprenticeships in a survey conducted recently, so extended free childcare and pension alterations can be considered to be positive factors in retaining and attracting new people into the sector.
“The new £9bn policy of full capital expensing, initially for the next three years, will also allow firms to write off all investment against their tax bills.
“However, our concern is that budget constraints mean some infrastructure projects, particularly rail and roads, are likely to be delayed, cut or scrapped, which could impact our industry.
“Delays to HS2, and cuts to the Road-Building Capital Programme are being put forward, with no mention of support for getting the infrastructure pipeline moving.
“House building completion is also in slowdown, with local authorities reducing numbers in local plans, meaning 122,000 less homes will be built, a situation not helped by nutrient neutrality.
“The Chancellor could have also taken the opportunity to announce a National Retro-fit Strategy, which would support the installation of energy-efficient technology into existing dwellings, but there appears to have been no support for that.
“We need to see a commitment to decarbonising homes on the road to a New Zero economy, as this will be crucial to achieving these sustainability goals nationally.
“The two major issues that affect our members are narrowing the gap between housing demand and supply, and the decarbonisation of heating and electrification of homes. We will continue to work with the Government to address these issues.”