The Chancellor presented his Spring Statement to Parliament yesterday (13 March), including an update on the overall health of the economy. Major tax or spending changes are now only made annually at the Autumn Budget.
A number of announcements are of interest to the CLC, particularly around the importance of the construction sector to Government’s ambitions for new homes and infrastructure – and to the success of the UK economy as a whole. They include:
- Future Homes Standard – helping ensure consumer energy bills are low and homes are better for the environment. The government will introduce, by 2025, a new standard, so that new build homes are future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency;
- Major apprenticeship levy reforms – following the announcement at Budget that means from April 1st employers will see the co-investment rate they pay cut by a half from 10% to 5%, at the same time as levy-paying employers are able to share more levy funds across their supply chains, with the maximum amount rising from 10% to 25%;
- Infrastructure Finance consultation – seeking views and publicising how the government can best support private infrastructure investment in the context of the UK’s changing relationship with the European Investment Bank;
- First-ever comprehensive National Infrastructure Strategy – reiterating the government’s commitment to set out its priorities for economic infrastructure and responding to recommendations in the National Infrastructure Commission’s National Infrastructure Assessment;
- Up to £3 billion – guaranteed to be available to housing associations in England to borrow (through the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme) to support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes;
- The Chancellor also made clear that he will launch a full three-year Spending Review before the summer recess, to be concluded alongside an Autumn Budget. It will set departmental budgets beyond the NHS to reflect the public’s priorities between areas like social care, local government, schools, police, defence and the environment.;
The CLC looks forward to seeing more detail on these proposals in due course – and where required, working with Government to deliver them.