At first glance
It was one of the more reserved budgets of the last few years and certainly quite different to the now infamous ‘mini-budget’ delivered by former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, under the short Premiership of Liz Truss. It certainly continued the theme of stability from the current Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Budget last year.
But, did it tackle the big issues? Here’s a quick glance:
- There was a big win for FMB members that should help ease skills shortages.
- Disappointingly, there was no mention of sorting out housing.
- In a blow for the industry, there was little mention of energy efficiency measures.
- Fuel duty cut stays in place.
A big win for FMB Members
In the State of Trade Survey Q4 we asked if you would support more targeted immigration to help alleviate the ongoing skills shortages, provided this is backed up by more investment in UK skills opportunities and many members supported doing this.
We presented this evidence to Government, along with other stakeholders and, as announced in this Budget, the Government added certain key skills to the Shortage Occupation List, like carpentry and bricklaying. This list determines areas that are short staffed in the UK and means it’s easier to hire workers from abroad. In the short term this a major boost for the industry and hopefully we’ll see those experiencing delays to their work from a lack of skilled labour drop over time.
A move like this from Government really shows the value your voice has at the FMB, you asked for this change, and you got it. This is why our regular State of Trade Survey can really make a difference and enables your voice to be heard by the Government.
Where was housing?
There is very little that will comfort small, local house builders in this Budget. There were some minor changes for housing in the detail, attempting to help housing delivery from those affected by nutrient neutrality issues, but this was just to improve pre-existing measures.
Given the chronic undersupply of new homes and the drop off in housing delivery from SMEs over the decades we would have thought housing would be front and centre of this Budget. If the Government is to deliver on its own aims of building more beautiful, diverse, and locally focussed housing, then they must get behind the nations local house builders. We will keep pushing government to support SME house builders through our housing campaign work.
What about retrofitting?
Improving the energy efficiency of homes, also known as retrofitting, is high up on the agenda for our industry. There are many benefits to retrofitting, it lowers bills and improves health in the home. by reducing issues like damp. But directly for builders, it could result in a major uplift in new work and jobs for many, many years to come. So, we see it as a win-win.
However, despite very small steps forward in the last Budget, the Government has been reluctant to commit to it, which leaves industry and consumers in the lurch, as there isn’t a clear picture on what needs to be done. We would like to see Government introduce a fully-fledged retrofitting plan as this would give builders the confidence that there is a pipeline of work for retrofitting ahead of them.
Fuel duty cut stays in place
If you cast your mind back to last March, you may remember that in the Budget delivered by the then Chancellor Rishi Sunak, it reduced fuel duty by 5 pence per litre. In this Budget that has been kept in place for another 12 months and will not rise in line with inflation. So, this should keep prices at the pump down and bit more money in your pocket.
Got a question?
Speak to our policy team on 020 7025 2934 or send us an email.