The announcement that five construction occupations will be placed on the Shortage Occupation List is a beacon of hope in an otherwise underwhelming Spring Budget, that lacks a clear industrial strategy to encourage construction investment and stimulate economic growth.
The announcement of measures to boost the number of Ukrainians entering the labour market and returnerships, targeted at the over 50s – will do little to replenish construction’s dwindling workforce. We need a more concerted approach that prioritises investment in apprenticeships and training, to tackle ingrained labour shortages.
BCIS welcomes the continued commitment to capital investment programmes. But the fact that many of these have been postponed – such as parts of HS2 and Lower Thames Crossing – will inevitably push up the price of these projects in the longterm, due to their budgets being eroded by inflation.
The government’s commitment to public sector investment is encouraging and we look forward to the publication of the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline later this year, to see how much of the £600 billion is invested in construction.
David Crosthwaite, BCIS
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