BSRIA Chief Executive, Julia Evans, has given her reaction to the Chancellor’s Summer Budget.
One million extra jobs to be created by 2020 / new apprenticeship levy for large employers
“BSRIA welcomes this announcement – and with the construction industry “crying out” for highly skilled staff – investment is needed now – both to attract new entrants into the industry and train them – and, indeed, train and upskill staff already in the industry. The construction industry is currently suffering from a major skills shortage. Any measures that attract new entrants will be welcomed.
Housebuilding targets have been set – but who is going to be building houses? BSRIA sees the training of construction industry apprenticeships as critical, if the government is serious about boosting apprenticeships, it should focus on improving the quality of apprenticeships to make them more attractive to employers – especially in the construction industry. Businesses of all sizes need positive encouragement and an apprenticeship system that meets their needs.
As an industry, we need to invest now in recruiting and developing the skills we are going to need to deliver the high volume of energy efficient homes required. This includes presenting the industry as a viable long term career choice.
Last year, the construction industry had 16,000 apprenticeships. Considering the construction industries’ GDP contribution, this figure needs to grow to around 40,000 per year.”
Social housing sector rents
“Rents in the social housing sector will be reduced by 1% a year for the next four years. Will this lead to a reduction in investment to ensure housing is energy efficient? And will it discourage building of new housing? Energy efficiency in housing – both existing and new – is essential. Measures in testing for such energy efficiency and, indeed investing in existing housing stock is vital. It is clear that if financial reductions are being made in this sector – then the industry is at risk of losing energy efficiency credentials elsewhere. This potentially puts improvements in energy performance in jeopardy – which is clearly unacceptable.”
Climate Change Levy exemption for renewable energy to be removed
“After the announcement that renewable power generators would no longer be exempt from the Climate Change Levy, BSRIA is concerned that this could lead to a lower take up of renewable energy – such green credentials must play a part in achieving the carbon emissions targets. Delivering the change that is required to meet the carbon emission targets will require long term investment from industry; this will only happen if it has the confidence to do so. Government needs to agree an action plan that will deliver low-carbon heat and energy efficient homes.”
“The Chancellor’s commitment to further cut Corporation Tax is a clear sign that Britain “is open for business”, however, it could be asked if this should be linked to improved energy efficiency.”