Howard Chapman, Editor of Buildingtalk
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With the UK election just months away, the stalls are being laid out for us to take a peek at whats on offer. There is certainly an infrastructure bonanza in prospect and the and £2.3bn investment in flood defences will save and £30bn in damage so seems like money well spent. However, the headline grabbing and £15bn on roads is more controversial.
We already have some industry comments on George Osbornes Autumn Statement – which we have included below – but what do you think?
The NHBC report that house building was up 10% in October – the best month in over 3 years. However chronic skills shortages are holding back the UK economy and the CBI says more women are needed in construction.
News this week includes
And finally, the latest FMB research shows that big contractors unduly delaying payments to suppliers continues to put good businesses at risk, so Buildingtalk is supporting the FAIR PAYMENT campaign.
Chris Temple, engineering and construction leader at PwC – comments 3/12/2014
Given the slower growth currently experienced in infrastructure, the Autumn Statement provides further clarity on the medium-term opportunities. Theres a lack of significant projects in the short to medium term and the Chancellor is now providing greater focus on where the spend will be deployed. Roads and flood defences are in need of investment and the Statement is a strong signal of intent to spend. This renewed commitment to infrastructure spending will be welcome to the construction sector and the jobs tax holiday for apprenticeships is also good news for the industry.
Mark Robinson, CEO of the Scape Group – comments 3/12/2014
The National Infrastructure Plan will spend andpound;466 billion on projects across the UK which could create over 2.3million construction jobs according to government estimates. While this type of investment is fantastic news for UK plc, we at the coalface know that finding skilled labour to build these projects is going to be exceptionally challenging. Alongside this investment in our infrastructure we need to see a recruitment drive to show people that construction is not a vocation but a respected career which is instrumental in shaping Britains future.
Craig Maclellan, from the Structural Timber Association – comments 3/12/2014
The Government continues to support the housing industry through the provision of finance for large scale projects, which is extremely welcome. Also, the continuation of initiatives such as the Affordable Homes Programme for another two years is essential to maintain the right housing stock. Significant funding for large scale housing schemes offers the UK Government the chance to set standards for the future and further commit to off-site construction as the way forward.
Darryl Murphy, partner in KPMGs Infrastructure team – Commenting on the National Infrastructure Plan 2014 report, ahead of the Autumn Statement 3/12/2014
The National Infrastructure Plan 2014 clearly outlines what opportunities are out there; when investment will be required and what mechanisms will be utilised. The report correctly highlights that the financing market has improved markedly although the scale and risk of certain projects remain a challenge. It is clear that energy will demand the lions share of investment, and now the challenge is ensuring the right support packages are implemented to finance and fund the necessary generation capacity to ensure the lights do not go out.
Dr Diana Montgomery, Chief Executive of the Construction Products Association – comments 3/12/2014
The most important element of the Statement for the construction industry was National Infrastructure Plan 2014. Construction is an enabler of UK economic growth, and that is never more evident than in the delivery of the new infrastructure the country needs for the 21st century. Taken together, with the handful of marginal but welcomed additional measures in the Autumn Statement itself, we are optimistic that the governments actions this week will improve the construction industrys recovery, increase our members confidence and strengthen the case to invest in the UK.
Mike OConnor, head of infrastructure, projects and energy, Addleshaw Goddard – comments 4/12/2014
With low yielding bonds and volatile equities markets, the marketplace to invest in infrastructure is really competitive. This is potentially a line of attack our chancellor could make more of in paying for the roads, railways and energy plants. However, any roadmap for infrastructure has to look at jobs and housing alongside it and currently theres too much of a silo mentality around different parts of government. A credible long term National Economic Plan is needed to map out everything.
Nigel Rees, GGF Group Chief Executive – comments 8/12/2014 taken from GGF review of the UK Chancellors Autumn Statement on Buildingtalk
As had been anticipated, it was good to hear the Chancellor confirm the increase in funding of andpound;100m to support homeowners installing energy efficient measures in their properties. However, it remains to be seen how much of this funding will help homeowners install energy efficient windows. It was also pleasing to see a drive to increase new builds and positive to hear that the Chancellors statement has included some measures that will benefit small businesses, such as expanding the British Business Bank, freezing fuel duty as well as doubling business rate relief for small businesses for another year.