John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer “largely struck the right notes” when announcing his second Budget, yesterday (March 3).
“We were particularly pleased that the Chancellor sought to support smaller businesses by recognising the need for continued furlough support and business rates discounts, which will help our SME members as they return to pre-Covid levels of operation. Similar extensions to self-employment grants will help small builders and other trades who form the main merchant customer base and ensure they are still in business to service the needs of homeowners helped by the new government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme and the extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday,” Newcomb said.
“We also welcome the announcement of a new UK Infrastructure Bank which was a key ask of our Construction Leadership Council colleagues, and noted the reference to investment by construction firms in the Chancellor’s announcement of his Super Deduction tax initiative. Clearly, he is looking to the construction industry to help drive economic recovery.”
However, Newcomb said the BMF was disappointed that the Chancellor’s avowed support for Green Growth did not extend to a National Retrofit Strategy. “This would not only upgrade the country’s housing stock to the highest levels of energy efficiency, but would also provide a platform to upskill the building trade with skills required both to retrofit existing homes and build low carbon new homes, helping to achieve the Government’s Net Zero ambition.”