Call for budget to help construction sector growth

The Treasury

Leading environmental and building construction bodies are calling on the Government to help grow the built environment in next week’s budget. The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) is urging the Chancellor to use the Budget 2013 to demonstrate the Coalition’s commitment to energy efficiency as a key driver of green growth and provide a boost to the construction sector. And in a list of requests, RICS asks the government to visibly promote public sector construction contracts, meaning smaller firms across the UK are aware of projects and able to directly bid for work.

UK-GBC says it would like to see a clear commitment from Government to ensure all homes are zero carbon from 2016, and commercial properties from 2019; a strengthening of the Building Regulations (Part L) for 2013 and clarity on ‘Allowable Solutions’ – the policy that enables developers to invest in carbon mitigation schemes.

Paul King, CEO of UK-GBC, said: “A focus on green growth would boost the construction industry’s confidence to invest and create jobs, as well as helping the UK to meet its legally binding carbon targets.

“We’ve heard David Cameron talk up energy efficiency and the green economy, but the Budget is the Chancellor’s opportunity to demonstrate that he is singing from the same hymn sheet. We need an end to mixed messages which create a risky and damaging environment for business.”

RICS has called for greater investment in the maintenance of existing infrastructure such as roads and rail, to deliver growth more quickly and greater clarity from government as to where and how businesses can apply for financial support.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said: “The mantra now must be ‘deliver at all costs’. We have seen promises of funding and cheaper borrowing from the government but we now need to see evidence that it’s actually getting through to the firms and projects that need it. Every pound invested in construction provides around two pounds eighty of benefits to the wider economy, and if the UK is to work its way out of the economic slump, ongoing investment in construction will be crucial.”