TalkPoint: A brighter year ahead for construction?

Dayle Bayliss

Dayle Bayliss - Credit: Archant

WHEN Chancellor George Osborne presented his budget to the House of Commons he intended it to promote growth and help rebalance the economy. In this exclusive column, Suffolk’s Young Business Person of the Year, building consultant Dayle Bayliss, explains what this means in real terms and how the construction industry will fare as a result.

Like many employers I hoped this year’s Budget would be designed to boost business.

After last year’s debacle, which included the “pasty tax” and several other measures that triggered horrible headlines, I wasn’t sure the Chancellor would be brave enough to do anything too drastic.

So I was pleasantly surprised with the concept of the Help to Buy scheme. We will have to see how it works in practice but the idea to kickstart the housing market is a good one.

Having said this, I’m afraid this is the only element of the Budget that excites me.

The change to National Insurance and freeze on fuel duty were beneficial but the rest was fairly lacklustre for the construction industry, as I feared it might be.

The trouble is, although the Government seems to recognise that construction, house-building and infrastructure are key to economic growth, they need to actively deliver on their promises in these areas.

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For example, the Chancellor listed two infrastructure projects - Hinkley Point and Battersea Power Station - which could receive investment through guarantee schemes and the much-trailed Pension Infrastructure Platform.

But neither of these will come to fruition until 2016 which does not help companies struggling right now.

Also I believe the Government should spend more time and resources supporting business to gain access to these public sector projects as well as other smaller repair, maintenance and upgrade projects which can be picked up by medium and small construction businesses.

Rail maintenance and school refurbishment are two areas where a small amount of capital investment would quickly deliver great benefits.

Despite any budget disappointment however, a recent survey found 42% of surveyors in East Anglia expected workloads to increase in 2013, an upturn reflected in the turnover during the final three months of 2012.

In short the construction industry – particularly in the East of England – looks to have a bright year ahead.

: : Dayle Bayliss Design and Construction Consultants specialise in architectural design, building surveying and project management. For more information,visit www.daylebayliss.co.uk or email info@daylebayliss.co.uk .

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