Nathan Garnett, Event Director at UK Construction Week, responds to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement and outlines UKCW’s role in ensuring the government delivers on its pledges.
The Autumn Statement has delivered a welcome boost to the UK construction industry. The chancellor has announced spending on housing totalling £3.7bn, with £1.4bn set aside for 40,000 much needed affordable homes, something UK Construction Week announced last week will lay at the heart of its 2017 campaign. It also announces a further £2.3bn for housing infrastructure, unlocking land that will see the delivery of up to 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand.
New spending on housing not only goes some way in tackling the housing crisis, it demonstrates government understanding that house building and long term economic growth is intrinsically linked; which is reassuring during these turbulent times. It is also encouraging to see The Northern Powerhouse will get a boost with an extra £1.3bn to be spent on improving Britain's roads, in a pledge to develop the economic performance of regional cities through improved transport infrastructure.
What the Chancellor and Theresa May administration must now do as a priority is lay down a timeframe and give the construction industry more solid commitment to this new industrial strategy. The concerns are still out there, as the industry reaction to the statement has shown, and these announcements are not all entirely new.
Last month at UK Construction Week, we heard again and again that the UK must raise the overall productivity of the economy. Now more than ever we need the government to deliver on its pledges and quickly. By working with our partners, UK Construction Week will continue to support the industry in making sure the May administration delivers on these promises.