What Does the Budget Mean for the UK Roofing Industry?
The UK roofing industry heralded last month’s Budget as a “Budget for Builders and Business” amid hopes that it will enable smaller building companies to deliver more of the new homes that Britain is so badly in need of. With the government’s target of building 300,000 new homes every year until the mid 2020’s, it’s clear that small to medium sized construction companies will play a significant role if the government is to achieve these targets.
We have a growing housing crisis here in the UK and the extra £1.5 billion injection into the Home Building Fund is set to be targeted specifically at SME housebuilder firms. There is a fund of £630 million designated to prepare small sites for development, back up by proposals that will require local authorities in Britain to deliver more new housing supplies from these “faster to build” smaller sites. This represents an ideal opportunity for small to medium housebuilding companies to get on board and play their part in helping to boost small scale developments of this type.
Anybody in the construction industry will be aware that the second major challenge we face to getting new homes built is the skills crisis. The Chancellor also committed extra resources to training in construction skills, a vital issue, especially as we face Brexit in the not too distant future. The construction industry has relied heavily in the past on migrant workers from the European Union and industry leaders have been warning about the negative effects of the Leave vote in last year’s Referendum.
While measures are being put in place to address the skills shortage in the UK construction sector, this is not an instant fix so the outlook for the industry as a whole will take some time to settle enough for us to gain a clear picture. The Apprenticeship Scheme is designed to attract more school leavers into a career in construction while the new T-level qualifications will play a significant part when they come into play. We’ll have more information on both T-levels and the Apprenticeship Scheme in coming weeks.
The government’s commitment to building new homes combined with the £170 million Sector Deal should serve to add some much-needed confidence to our industry and attract the necessary investments needed to transform its performance over the coming years. Construction training is vital when it comes to promoting and accomplishing the necessary skills to make this happen.
There’s a greater focus nowadays on digital skills within construction which are essential to aid modern methods of production and enhance productivity in all sub-sectors. If we want to encourage more youngsters to opt for a career in construction, we need to make sure that the industry offers both the training and the opportunities that will be required to do so. We face an uncertain future here in the UK with Brexit on the horizon and we all need to play our parts in facing the coming challenges head on and making sure that our industry is fit for the future.