The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has submitted an industry-wide response ahead of the chancellor’s budget statement on 3 March 2021. They welcome government support so far, but also warn that the industry still remains in “extremely challenging times” as it continues to adapt to the ongoing pandemic and mitigate against the impact of Brexit.
In a letter to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, the CLC outlined how the construction sector could most effectively support the UK’s recovery in line with the government’s key policy priorities to achieve net zero, building safety, levelling up, stimulating economic activity and protecting jobs.
The CLC has focussed on what it described as a small number of key interventions to drive immediate economic growth and market confidence. These include:
- Committing to a National Retrofit Strategy;
- Offering incentives for the commercial property sector;
- Expanding the Building Safety Fund;
- Making the Infrastructure Bank an effective vehicle for regeneration;
- Securing local authority funding;
- Extending the stamp duty holiday and duty review;
- Withdrawing reverse charge VAT;
- Extending employer apprenticeship incentives and Apprenticeship Levy flexibility.
Writing to the chancellor, CLC co-chair Andy Mitchell said: “In spite of the ongoing challenges of Covid-19 and global economic uncertainty, we remain of the view that the UK remains positioned for recovery.
“This remains possible thanks to clear support and guidance from the UK government helping us keep our sites open, and its ongoing assistance to our businesses and workers. We welcome government’s long-term recognition of the vital role construction plays in our economy.
“Despite this support, our industry remains in extremely challenging times as we continue to adapt to ongoing Covid-19 rules, mitigate the impact of Brexit and prepare for the forthcoming implementation of rule changes on IR35 and the Construction Industry Scheme.
“It is also important to note that by continuing to operate the industry has suffered a serious financial impact as a result of project delays and costs incurred in adapting working practices.
“We recognise that difficult decisions will need to be made over the coming year, so have focussed on a small number of key interventions that we believe will drive immediate economic growth and market confidence.”