Ross Baxter, Managing Director of Saint-Gobain Off-Site Solutions:

“I welcome the Government’s announcement that stamp duty cuts will be extended until March 2025, outlined in the Autumn Statement.

“The housing sector is an essential part of the UK economy, and this measure will play a role in stimulating the building industry.

“However, with house builders and social housing providers facing increasing pressure to build faster, greener and better quality homes, we must take it upon ourselves to invest in new building technologies.

“Off-site manufacturing and construction remain the most viable way to scale up house building at the level required to meet demand.”

 

Tim Balcon,CITB’s Chief Executive:

  “Construction employers are facing rising energy bills and materials costs and they need confidence in the future pipeline of work and support to train through challenging market conditions.

“We will do everything we can to support the construction industry so companies can continue to have the confidence to invest in skills.

 

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, Local Government Information Unit (LGIU):

“Today’s budget offered limited respite for hard-pressed councils. In a week when two of England’s largest local authorities have said they are facing a financial cliff edge – the message from the sector is clear. Well run councils will fail unless something changes.

Additional money for social care would be welcome, but the vast majority of what was announced today is derived from delaying the Dilnot proposals and from increasing council tax flexibility. Both these measures simply kick the problem down the road. We’ve been doing that with social care for over a decade now and a regressive tax will hit the poorest the hardest and shift political liability from central to local government.

This budget made it very clear that levelling up is well and truly back. But, the devolution deals announced today offer no promise of the necessary fiscal devolution. The commitment to explore single departmental-style settlements for the Greater Manchester and West Midlands Combined Authorities might take us in that direction, but that too is kicked down the road until the next Spending Review.

Councils across the country are struggling to make ends meet today. The choice for the Government is whether it intervenes before or after local authorities go bust. This budget gives little cause for optimism.”

 

Robert Colvile, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies:

‘Given the scale of the fiscal hole that the Chancellor was facing, he did the best job he could of patching it up without causing too much pain – except for the wealthy. While we would disagree with many of the decisions taken, most of the alternatives were even worse. But if we are to avoid more pain in the future, we urgently need to focus on the challenge of getting Britain investing, building and growing.’

 

Eddie Tuttle, director of policy, external affairs and research at the Chartered Institute of Building:

“While the cost of living and energy crisis are rightly priorities for government, the role of the construction industry in addressing both of them is, in our view, being underestimated and this has been evident in today’s autumn statement. We do look forward to seeing the government’s plans for the funding it has today allocated to improving energy efficiency and hearing more of the detail, which is currently lacking.

“The built environment sector is, without doubt, pivotal in reducing carbon emissions — not only during the construction of new buildings and critical infrastructure, but also in the retrofitting of existing homes to make them more energy efficient. Without this, government will not meet its target of reducing the carbon emissions from buildings by 15% by 2030 and reduce household energy bills, which continue to be one of the biggest concerns for the UK population.

“Continuing investment and forward planning from a stable government is critical to enable the construction sector to properly plan ahead with confidence and play its part in addressing net zero, levelling up and ultimately the cost of living and energy issues faced by millions.”

 

Mike Foster, CEO of the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA):

“The Chancellor confirming the energy price cap will see a whopping increase up to £3,000 in April will inevitably worry millions of hard-pressed families. Our recent consumer survey found 78% of Brits support keeping the price cap on energy bills in place, so an increase that plunges millions into fuel poverty is not what any households wanted to see.

“This is particularly immoral while the Government’s own Boiler Upgrade Scheme, that is still in place, hands out £5000 subsidies to the well-off to change their heating, while millions struggle to pay their bills. They have missed an open goal to solving some of the energy bills turmoil plaguing the British public. Redistributing these millions of pounds in pointless heat pump subsidies into insulation, efficiency measures, and bills support is really a no brainer.”

“With news of renewed investment in nuclear, this budget also reinforces our view that longer-term we need to move away from fossil gas and switch our network over to hydrogen. Not only will this help to reduce emissions – which the Chancellor pointed out was a priority in his speech – this level of energy independence would also free us from the global gas markets that Putin’s war has significantly impacted.”

 

ICS Comment on Autumn Statement 2022:

“RICS is pleased that the UK Government announced its commitment to energy efficiency and decarbonisation in the Autumn Statement keeping to its promise to reduce final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030. RICS welcomes the announced £6.6 billion investment in energy efficiency for this parliament and a further £6 billion annually committed from 2025. We hope this funding can reach projects as soon as possible.

“Energy costs greatly impact prices throughout the economy, particularly the building sector. Establishing efficient use and low-cost energy production is vital for economic recovery, and this recognition is clear in the statement.

 

Stuart Law, CEO at the Assetz Group:

“Housebuilders will have their heads in their hands as Jeremy Hunt failed to afford any time to planning reform, while the retention of the SDLT cut will protect demand over coming years at a time when a huge imbalance in market forces sits at the heart of our national housing crisis. Until we stop kicking the can down the road, we will never build enough homes, or take steps to make housing more accessible and affordable for more people.

“Housebuilders and other housing providers will also be deeply concerned that the imperative for government departments to find efficiency savings will mean less public sector investment in the housing sector, as well as planning delays at already under-funded local authorities. Private sector investment in the housing sector will be absolutely essential in the years ahead if we are to fund the new homes that are desperately needed across the country.

 

The CEA’s (Construction Equipment Association) response to the Autumn Statement:

There were no great surprises from Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement today – many of the announcements made relate to years that fall after the next general election so much of the impact will not be felt for years to come – however, the Government’s commitment to invest in infrastructure and energy efficiency is very welcome.

Hunt confirmed that as part of the Government’s commitment to growth and infrastructure – they will deliver the core Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 to Manchester, East-West rail, the new hospitals’ programme and gigabit-broadband roll-out.  These will be funded with over £600bn of investment in the next five years, which Hunt said: “will connect our country and grow our economy.” The CEA welcomes the Chancellor’s continuing commitment to major investment in infrastructure.

By 2030, the Government wants to reduce energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% – and from 2025, there will be a further £6bn in funding to deliver the UK’s new energy efficiency ambition.  Let’s just hope that whoever is in power at that time commits to fulfilling this funding.

 

Dr David Crosthwaite, Head of Consultancy Services at BCIS (Building Cost Information Service)

With the wider economy falling into recession the Chancellor had a real balancing act to perform in the Autumn statement. The announcements will affect the various sectors of the construction industry in different ways.

Housing is likely to be worst hit, with housebuilders already scaling back investment. The retention of the stamp duty relief until 31st March 2025 will do little to offset this.

BCIS estimates of the impact on construction output over the next two years are as follows:

  • Housing – down
  • Infrastructure – steady
  • Other private – steady
  • Commercial – down
  • Industrial – down
  • Repairs and maintenance housing – possibly up if people will spend the money on energy efficiency
  • Repairs and maintenance infrastructure – up as some investment will be repairs and maintenance
  • Repairs and maintenance public sector other – up given funding for health and schools
  • Repairs and maintenance private sector other – down, less money available in the commercial sector

 

 

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