Measures announced in the Autumn Statement to speed up planning, cut taxes for small businesses, increase support for business investment, and to provide financial backing to boost apprenticeships are welcome steps to help stimulate much needed growth in the economy, say the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB sad: “The Autumn Statement will be welcomed by small builders, with the Government finally taking steps to support micro and SME businesses in a sector which has faced significant difficulty in recent years. However, this must only be the start if the Government is serious about tackling the challenges we continue to face. Measures to reform the way local authorities process planning applications is good news, as are plans to help fund local authorities tackle nutrient neutrality mitigation. However, substantial increases in funding for local authority planning departments are needed if we are to see real progress.”
Brian continued: “There were some surprising outcomes, like the changes to permitted development rights, which will bring work for house builders and the repair, maintenance, and improvement sector. Buried in the details is additional support for housing associations to deliver energy efficiency improvements. This support should also be rolled out to the owner occupier sector to help improve the UK’s leaky housing stock”.
Brian Berry concluded: “Financial support for SMEs represents another positive step, along with other announcements to boost SME growth, such as adopting digital technology. It is good to see that skills training has received a boost, with additional funding announced to increase the number of apprenticeships undertaken.”