Following the Chancellor’s Budget Statement, PBM rounds up a number of responses from the merchant and construction sector:
BMF CEO John Newcomb:
“The Chancellor largely struck the right notes in announcing continued support for business as we move through the final stages of the coronavirus roadmap and plan for recovery.
“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.
“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, while the Chancellor spoke of the Government’s commitment to Green Growth, we were disappointed that this announcement did not include support for 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.”
The Chancellor presents a mixed picture for Britain’s builders, with the glaring omission of a long-term plan to make our homes greener, but welcome extensions to coronavirus recovery support, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in response to today’s Budget.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “In the year of COP26, the Chancellor missed an opportunity in today’s Budget to show global leadership with a long-term plan to make our homes greener, healthier, and more affordable to run. The Government’s commitment to green growth must include backing for a National Retrofit Strategy – an oven-ready infrastructure plan that will tackle climate change, level up and create jobs.
“While we welcome the funding announced for the UK Infrastructure Bank, we expect to see it use its focus on climate change and regional growth to back Britain’s army of small builders who stand ready to help build back better, and greener.”
Brian added: “In better news, builders who are struggling to recover from the pandemic will welcome the extension of support set out by the Government today, particularly those in Scotland who are still unable to work inside people’s homes. I am glad the Chancellor listened to the FMB’s calls to extend the Stamp Duty holiday. New Government guarantees on 95% mortgages will also boost confidence and protect jobs.
“What’s needed now is increased investment in local authority planning departments so that we can get shovels in the ground on small sites. The doubling of support for businesses who hire an apprentice is also a win for the FMB. 71% of construction apprentices are trained by small to medium-sized (SME) firms, and the extra support for my members is welcome.”