Victorian Sliders Managing Director Steve Winslet responds to the Chancellor’s recent budget.
Given the upheaval that resulted from the last big announcement from a UK Chancellor, the recent budget was at least a return to business as usual – no massive shocks that risk destabilising the economy, and causing headaches for business owners around the country.
First off, it’s positive news that the OBS no longer expects the UK to enter recession this year – a far cry from the Bank of England’s predictions of the “longest recession in history”.
Of the policy pledges unveiled by the Chancellor, the announcements on infrastructure spending are likely to boost glazing and construction more generally – especially welcome after the recent delay to HS2.
Major investment in nuclear obviously won’t benefit us directly, but large-scale infrastructure spending of this kind always results in a need for more houses, commercial developments and other construction projects.
The twelve new investment zones, billed by Jeremy Hunt as twelve potential new Canary Wharfs, will likely have a similar effect.
However, there was little else in his budget that will stimulate UK housebuilding.
A report by the Centre for Cities recently calculated that Britain has a deficit of 4.3 million houses, and we’re currently building fewer homes now than at any time since the Second World War
The government has proposed nothing that will accelerate the rate of housebuilding, or incentivise homeowners to invest in the high-performance windows and doors necessary to curb the country’s carbon footprint.
There were more positive signs when it comes to skills. In response to recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee, the government will loosen immigration rules to make it easier for bricklayers, roofers, carpenters, joiners and a range of other critical tradespeople to enter Britain.
My hope is that, in the months ahead, the government brings forward further measures to encourage housebuilding, incentivise home improvement, and accelerate the transition to net zero.
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