Industry Response A ‘Budget for Builders and Business’

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Industry Response A ‘Budget for Builders and Business’

The Chancellor Philip Hammond has today delivered a ‘budget for builders’ that should allow small builders to deliver more of the new homes Britain so badly needs, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). 

Commenting on the Budget 2017, Brian Berry Chief Executive of the FMB said “The Government has set itself a new target of building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s. And today the Chancellor has put small and medium-sized builders at the heart of ambitious plans to tackle the growing housing crisis.

“The Chancellor appears to be putting his money where his mouth is with the announcement of £44 billion of capital funding, loans and guarantees. In particular, a further £1.5 billion for the Home Building Fund to be targeted specifically at SME housebuilders can play a significant role in channelling crucial funding to this sector.

“A £630 million fund to prepare small sites for development and proposals to require councils to deliver more new housing supply from faster-to-build smaller sites will provide opportunities to boost small scale development.” 

Skills Crisis
Berry continued: “A second major challenge to getting new homes built is the skills crisis we face. In the long run, the only real solution to chronic skills shortages will be a major increase in the training of new entrants into our industry. We are therefore pleased to hear the Chancellor has today committed extra resourcing to training for construction skills.

“With Brexit round the corner the next few years will bring unprecedented challenges to the construction sector. The Government will need to make sure that the sector continues to have access to skilled EU workers, but we are pleased that the Chancellor has today listened to the needs of SME builders”.

The Right Skills
Steve Radley, Director of Policy at CITB, said: 

“The Government’s commitment to build 300,000 new homes each year and the £170m Sector Deal should give our industry the confidence and the firepower to make the investments needed to transform its performance.

“The right skills will be critical to deliver this change, so the £34m funding for construction training is a vital investment. 

“The focus on digital skills is essential to developing a workforce which exploits the benefits of the digital revolution, aiding modern methods of production and boosting productivity.

“However, there is no quick fix to the skills shortage and construction skills must be of a high standard. We look forward to working closely with employers and Government to ensure these promising new measures deliver for our industry.”

Unoccupied Homes
Talking about the government's promise to future generations to make home ownership ‘a reality’, Rob Rushton, Head of insurance provider www.CoverBuilder.co.uk points to the growing number of existing properties in the UK that are currently unoccupied .

Rob commented “Here at CoverBuilder, we’ve witnessed an 800% increase in the amount of unoccupied home insurance policies we have written in the past year, compared to that of 2016.

“The waiving of Stamp Duty Tax is great news for first time buyers and it’s also looking very positive that Mr Hammond has announced that local authorities will soon be able to charge a 100% council tax premium to all owners. But for those who own more than one property, there is a chance that the extra charge of council tax will be nothing more than mere inconvenience. It will therefore be interesting to see how the number of empty homes in the UK compares this time next year, to see whether or not even further drastic action will be taken.”

Stamp Duty
Paresh Raja, CEO of bridging specialist MFS
“After an underwhelming Spring Budget that completely overlooked the property market, this time around the Chancellor has at least announced some reforms that will benefit homebuyers. While stamp duty has been cut for first-time homebuyers, the amount of money this will save prospective buyers is in reality still limited – the average first-time buyer spends £200,000 on a property; abolishing stamp duty for them will save them just £1,500.

Business Friendly
Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:
“Overall, this is a business-friendly Budget. The Chancellor’s vision for an inclusive economy includes a set of measures that will boost confidence across the small business community as they face extremely challenging trading conditions.

“1.5 million modest-earning small firms and the self-employed will be relieved that we have seen off a VAT tax grab that would have caused huge economic damage.

“We welcome the careful approach to protect diesel van drivers while at the same time addressing air quality. We also welcome the fuel duty freeze, which is vital to so many local businesses for customers, suppliers and staff.

“FSB presented a series of reforms to the Chancellor to make the business rates system fit for the future, and we are delighted to see many taken on board to improve a tax that so badly undermines economic growth. We are particularly proud to see the elimination of the staircase tax.

“The economic outlook remains extremely troubled, with high costs of doing business and inflationary pressures hitting confidence and deteriorating productivity and growth. New public sector headline investment will help, to scale-up the British Business Bank by two thirds as well as in research & development, local infrastructure, SME house-building, broadband and training. This must now be followed by practical detail in an ambitious Industrial Strategy next week.”

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