Forticrete reaction to the Spring statement

John Lambert, Managing Director at Forticrete, gives his view on the Spring statement made by Chancellor Phillip Hammond

When the Chancellor delivered his Autumn budget it focussed heavily in housebuilding. At the heart of this is a bold aim to build 300,000 houses on average each year up to 2020.

Since then, there has still been much talk about state of the house building market and how the government needs to tackle the apparent delays in order to reach its target. An independent review, first announced in the Autumn Budget, will be led by Sir Oliver Letwin MP to look at the gap between the number of planning applications gaining consent and the number of properties being built. The results of this will be an important step in speeding up the process.

But it is obvious that the government is taking serious steps to get Britain building. There are many measures being put in place with more funding being made available. For example, smaller housebuilders are important to achieving the housing target, and in doubling finance for them to £220 million through the housing growth partnership it is further commitment to building homes that are very much needed.

The speed of build is also important and housebuilders should be encouraged to use materials that make the process quicker and more cost effective. It is well documented that housebuilders face lengthy waits due to shortages of popular building materials. Material specification continues to be a key issue but there is a raft of products available to builders which offer cost effective and sustainable alternatives to more expensive and time delayed products. It is a win-win choice for everybody.

We also welcome the Chancellor’s announcement regarding T-Levels and funding for apprenticeships. It is important we nurture our talent pool and provide them with opportunities to learn the important skills needed to succeed in the construction industry. At Forticrete we have already embraced the value apprentices add to our business. One of our apprentices recently completed a course in Advanced Engineering and we were delighted to provide him with the on-site training he required. By developing the next generation of talent not only does it give them vital experience but also provides opportunities to progress within the business, which is beneficial for everybody involved.

We now have to wait until the Autumn Budget later this year to see whether any of the Government’s ambitious plans are coming to fruition.