THE chief executive of the Construction Equipment Association (CEA) has welcomed Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget pledge to commit £30 billion to roads and repair maintenance.
Rob Oliver said the announcement will be good news for both motorists and the plant hire industry. “The hope is that the money will be invested in machines and methods which make those repairs effective long term – not just commissioning low cost, short-term, sticking plaster solutions,” he said. “The Chancellor specifically recognises that the investment in road, rail and infrastructure is set to power the economy forward. This is good news for the construction industry that is at the centre of this.”
Meanwhile, Scotland’s builders have called for a “level playing field” north of the border after Philip Hammond, in his Budget speech, announced an extra £500 million for the Housing Infrastructure Fund to help unlock up to 650,000 homes in England. Homes for Scotland chief executive Nicola Barclay has urged the Scottish Government to attach “similar importance” to infrastructure delivery in the upcoming Scottish Budget.
“Homes cannot be built in isolation,” she said. “They need to be connected to existing facilities like roads, water and drainage and the people who move into the new properties need to use local services such as schools, medical facilities and public transport. However, such physical infrastructure is expensive to deliver and home builders are often asked to make large financial contributions to meet these costs up-front before they have even built or sold any properties, making it extremely difficult for developments to proceed.
“The Chancellor is absolutely right when he says that building more homes in the right places is critical to unlocking productivity growth and making housing more affordable so it is great to see him address this challenge in England. With housing such a big priority for the Scottish Government, we will be looking for the upcoming Scottish budget to attach similar importance to infrastructure delivery, particularly in relation to the Building Scotland Fund and Housing Infrastructure Fund, both run by Scottish Government. This is essential if we are to create the sustainable communities required by our growing population.”