Unsurprisingly, Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget statement was full of the big topics including housing, Brexit and the NHS to name a few.
There's no doubt that in the current climate we are in a position that is “full of change, full of challenges and full of new opportunities.”
What was clear from the Chancellor’s speech was the government's re-iteration of the importance of solving the housing crisis.
As well as a £28m investment into three Housing First pilots across the West Midlands, Manchester and Liverpool, a homeless ‘taskforce’ will be established aimed at cutting rough sleeping in half by 2022.
Mr Hammond also stated that progress is being made on the Scottish development fund, and that he has scrapped stamp duty for first time buyers up to £300,000, although this has already been discredited by the Government's own Budget watchdog, the Office of Budget Responsibility.
In all the Government is making available £15.3 billion of new financial support for housing over the next five years. This brings the total support for housing to at least £44 billion over this period, with much of the funding in the form of capital loans and funding guarantees. This new funding aims to kick-start the largest increase in housing since the 1970’s, delivering 300,000 additional homes a year.
In addition, to ease concerns over the country’s ability to build to this volume, Philip Hammond also addressed the UK labour skills shortage by providing “an additional £34m to develop construction skills across the country”. By leaving housing until the end of the statement, Mr Hammond clearly thought that the Government’s housing plans would be positively received, and they do go some way to solving the housing crisis but is it enough?
Will it equate to more houses actually being built?
What about the effect of Brexit on labour forces?
The actual effect of this investment remains unclear, but even the Chancellor was clear there is no magic bullet. What is clear is that we are still in a time of great uncertainty, and the country needs innovative solutions to help tackle the challenges and get the impending housing projects moving quickly.
The £1.5bn in new money for the home building fund to finance SME builders and the £630m for a small site fund to unlock stalled sites may speed things up a little. However, procurement can have a major impact on the delivery of construction, and must be innovative and bold in meeting the challenges.
Regardless of government funding, new legislations or Brexit, Procurement Hub’s innovative approach to providing adaptive solutions tailored to the housebuilding and construction sector, coupled with our in–house expertise, ensures that projects of all sizes are delivered cost effectively and to the highest quality.
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