Autumn Budget

Autumn Budget 2018: A construction viewpoint

  • 30 Oct 2018

Me 119Buildingtalk editor Max Banner takes a look at how yesterday’s Autumn Budget will affect all things construction, including housebuilding, infrastructure and that pesky problem of potholes!

 

Whilst this particular budget from Chancellor Philip Hammond’s will probably be remembered as the so-called ‘end of an era’ for austerity and the unveiling of a new 50p coin to commemorate Brexit, there will also be ramifications for the construction industry.

Housing

£500m has been pledged for the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is designed to enable a further 650,000 homes to be built.

New partnerships are also to be set up with housing associations in England to deliver 13,000 homes and there will be guarantees of up to £1bn for smaller house-builders.

Björn Conway, CEO at British modular homes specialist ilke Homes, commented: “We welcome the Government’s announcement that a further £500m is being allocated to the Housing Infrastructure Fund, in order to deliver an additional 650,000 homes for UK families.

“To unlock the necessary land to meet the growing housing demand, it’s imperative that we make the most of all available land assets despite the challenges and site constraints.”

Paresh Raja, CEO of leading UK bridging provider Market Financial Solutions, expressed some caution on that 650,000 figure, saying it would be questionable whether the Government will be able to deliver on its new-build targets given its ‘past track record’.

Transport and infrastructure

As well as a 30% growth in infrastructure spending promised, there will be a £30bn package for England’s roads, including repairs to motorways and potholes.

£420m will be put forward to tackle a growing number of potholes; however, the Asphalt Industry Alliance has said over £8bn would be needed for a one-time fix of potholes in England.

The Labour party argued the money should go towards public transport.

The road improvements will be largely funded by vehicle excise duty.

Potholes are a topic we have covered extensively on Buildingtalk; check out IKO’s #NoMorePotholes award win from back in January, which said that the traditional approach to pothole repair is costly, ineffective, wastes taxpayers money and frustrates and endangers road-users.

They cited mastic asphalt as a better, longer-lasting solution that is already being used on crack repairs, resurfacing and more, adding it could transform UK roads and save money.

IKO PLC Group MD Andy Williamson talked about the issue back in March, on Pothole Day, and how best to deal with it.

Meanwhile, Aggregate Industries argue that local authorities could solve the pothole crisis with standardisation of asphalt specification could help to improve roads’ durability and performance

City growth

An interesting little part of ‘Fiscal Phil’s’ budget were New City and Growth deals for Belfast, north Wales and the Tay Cities area, including Dundee and Perth, along with Angus and the north part of Fife.

Dundee, in particular, has recently undergone a spectacular construction project, courtesy of the development of the new V&A museum. 

This has been covered in depth on Buildingtalk, with Kingspan Insulation floor and roof products, GLASSOLUTIONS curtain walling and SFS stainless fasteners all featuring to make for a truly incredible building.

With yesterday’s news of New City and Growth deals in nations and regions as well, Dundee could emerge a place that will attract a large number of tourists.

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