The government has recently released its latest budget, with some promising news for the economy, employment, and energy prices. Let’s start with the good news: the Office for Budget Responsibility has predicted that the UK economy will not go into recession this year.
Additionally, the economy is expected to grow, with inflation and debt expected to decrease this year. Finally, there were no new tax rises in the 2023 spring budget.
This is great, given that the cost of building everything from houses to roads and railways has increased significantly and even outpaced price rises in other areas.
Changes around employment
The government has announced plans to improve employment opportunities. This is welcome news, given that the demand for labour in the construction industry will require an additional 546,000 workers to join the sector in 2023 beyond the usual hiring rate.
One change announced is to abolish the lifetime allowance, making it easier for people to keep working and contributing to their pension.
In addition to these plans, the government has also introduced a new apprenticeship program for older workers called ”Returnerships”.
Finally, the government wants to attract skilled workers from other countries by adding five construction jobs to the shortage occupation list and making it easier for people to come to the UK for short business trips.
Extension of The Energy Price Guarantee
The Energy Price Guarantee, which caps the maximum amount energy companies can charge people per unit, has been extended for another three months until June. This comes as a huge relief for people struggling with the cost of living crisis.
The extension aims to help homeowners manage their energy costs during the spring and summer months, and is is expected to save an average family approximately £160
However, this decision was met with mixed responses across the sector. Keeping the Energy Price Guarantee is good for homeowners in the short term because it will keep energy bills lower, but if the government doesn’t invest in a sustained program to retrofit homes, money will continue to be wasted due to inefficient and draughty homes.
Investment in early carbon capture technologies
The government has invested £20 billion in technologies that can capture and store carbon from the atmosphere.
The construction industry was critical however, highlighting that focusing only on carbon capture technology may slow down the green innovation happening in the industry. Instead, the government should invest in shorter-term solutions to reduce emissions rather than wait for carbon capture technology to be ready in 10 years.
Experts are also wondering if the government should have instead invested in planting and protecting trees, which is by far the most effective way to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Child care expenses
The government recognised that the increasing costs of childcare is preventing parents from returning to work. To address this, it extended free childcare to parents of children between 9 months and 3 years old who earn less than £100,000 per year.
The construction industry must now capitalise on this opportunity by collaborating with the government to raise awareness about the wide array of roles available for women.
Overall, the latest government budget brings good news for the economy, employment opportunities, and energy prices. However, it also raises questions about whether the government’s investments are going in the right direction to tackle the urgent issue of climate change.
While we can’t predict what will happen in the future, we can help you to predict costs and future-proof your projects. Get in touch to learn more.