Throughout last summer I took advantage of the fact that leaders were largely forced into working from home and had time to speak. Conversations were surprisingly optimistic for the latter part of the year and business moving forward into 2021.
Based on what I've read around the Building Products and Construction industries this week their predictions would seem to be holding water. And from the work I've be partnering with clients on within the space over the past six months, this further points towards a positive outlook for the immediate future.
Due to the broad nature of the markets construction serves, people can always highlight areas that are suffering, but from reading the news there's a lot to be positive about.
Only this week the latest Builders Merchants Building Index report highlighted that sales from Britain’s builders merchants in December 2020 were 8.8% up on the same month the previous year.
There's been plenty of positive noise from industry figureheads in terms of the budget. Extension of stamp duty holiday took centre stage, but there was also the announcement that a new UK Infrastructure Bank will open in Leeds, with a £12 billion investment from the Government. This Bank is aiming to fund £40 billion worth of projects. Additionally, the government will provide a guarantee to lenders offering 95% mortgages on properties worth up to £600,000.
However, for me, it's the governments "levelling up" agenda that could bring balance to our industry. £1 billion will be invested into 45 towns in England, via the Towns fund, to support the long-term economic and social regeneration of these towns. There's been a lot of speculation over what impact the pandemic will have on commercial project work, with large employers nervous about investing in large office space.
Housebuilding has propped up figures for some time now. However the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Total Activity Index posted 53.3 in February, up from 49.2 in January, thus signalling a solid increase on overall construction output. Importantly, feedback points towards the sharpest rise in commercial work since last September and a slower fall in civil engineering activity.
Fantastic to witness this positive news ladies and gentlemen, keep up the good work one and all!
Setting out the government's tax and spending plans for the year ahead, he announced new measures to help business and jobs through the pandemic and to support the UK's long-term economic recovery and a series of tax-raising plans to help rebalance the public finances. Here is a summary of the main points.