What the autumn statement means for the construction industry

The latest Autumn Statement has come at a particularly important time for the country, and the construction industry has been waiting to see what the new Chancellor has planned to benefit us.

Jeremy Hunt gave his statement to Parliament on 17th November, which outlined the future of some of the UK’s biggest projects.

It was announced that HS2 and Sizewell C will go ahead, whilst the Northern Powerhouse Rail plans will be scaled back again, after Liz Truss announced in her premiership she would revert to the original plans.

Hunt also promised to offer over £600bn of investment over the next 5 years to connect the country and grow the economy. This includes for the country’s infrastructure projects. 

A further £6bn was announced towards energy efficiency measures; this will aid the country in gaining energy independence. A goal was also set to reduce energy use by 15% by 2030, which will require annual investment in this area to double between 2025 and 2028.

Nuclear power will play a key role in this target, so the continuation of Sizewell C is essential for this move. This should also mean 10,000 new roles will be created for this project. 

However, the opposition have pointed out that not enough is being done to develop onshore wind power schemes, which is another essential for less reliance on overseas gas.

The Autumn Statement didn’t receive entirely positive feedback from the construction industry, with the changes to research and development tax credits meaning that small to medium sized construction firms will most likely be hit. 

This was said to reduce fraud within the scheme, despite measures for fraud prevention not being implemented until next year.

Many have already called for this to be reversed, as this may halt innovation and growth within the industry, particularly after a mixed construction forecast for 2023. 

Overall, we are grateful for increased investment that will benefit the industry, so construction can continue to grow over the coming years, however there are still problems that the government needs to address to gain full confidence.