Last week I warned not to expect too much from George Osborne’s last Budget before the General Election in May.
It can be boring to be right but that is how it turned out for the building sector as the Chancellor revealed he had very little to offer the industry, except some palliatives in terms of a Help to Buy ISA, abolition of Class 2 NICs in the next Parliament, if his party gets back into power in the next Parliament and apprenticeship vouchers, welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
There was precious little else and some trade associations were scathing in what had been presented as readers will see with the accompanying item on the Budget.
John Newcomb, Managing Director, Builders Merchants Federation – “While builders’ merchants may see a long term boost in sales stemming from the new Help to Buy ISA, it is disappointing not to see further measures to help people improve their homes, particularly around energy efficiency.”
David Hopkins, Executive Director, Wood for Good, on behalf of the Timber Industry Accord – “This Budget speech referenced growth 14 times, but carbon not at all – it has done little to help grow the low carbon economy and little to meet real housing demand.”
Brian Berry, Chief Executive, FMB – “For SMEs, bureaucracy is the biggest barrier to engagement in any scheme so industry and government must work together to help ensure this new system does not have a detrimental impact on apprenticeship numbers.”
At some time we may hear from the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) but we had not heard back on its thoughts before going to press. No doubt its Chief Executive, Nigel Rees, will have prepared something similar to what he has said in the past. That the government had missed yet another opportunity to give a boost to the building industry.