Commenting on today’s Budget, Dr Nelson Ogunshakin OBE, chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering said:
"On the whole, today’s Budget did not really build on the announcements made at the Autumn Statement back in November, although with significant consultations currently ongoing into housing, aviation, and a grand industrial strategy and a further Budget in the Autumn, perhaps this should not be surprising. We were disappointed to see, however, that some of ACE members' highest priorities were not supported. There was nothing on Crossrail 2, for instance, a key project that is vital to the future growth and prosperity of the UK's capital.
"In addition, our members will be concerned at the increased tax burdens that rises in the National Insurance rate and business rates represent. At a time when profit margins are being squeezed across the industry, these higher rates of taxation will put a strain on many members, discouraging investment in workforce, research and development, and in some cases bringing into question their continued operation.
"ACE welcomes the announcements around the new T-Levels, however, which we hope will finally see vocational qualifications take their place alongside academic A-Levels in terms of esteem. With the scale of the infrastructure programmes we will see entering the delivery phase in the coming years, it is vital our workforce is prepared and trained to deliver, and that future generations of engineers come from all manner of educational backgrounds.
"Overall, however, there was not much for the infrastructure sector to get too excited about, something which is both a blessing and a curse. Perhaps we will see more in the Chancellor’s second Budget later this year, or even in the more immediate term as Theresa May’s government begins to implement its agenda."