On the 3rd of March 2021, Rishi Sunak announced his second budget as Chancellor. With all eyes on Sunak after his first budget was marred by the Covid-19 crisis, the Chancellor announced ongoing Covid-19 support, an extension to the stamp duty holiday and provided further details about the government’s plan for a national infrastructure bank. But what does the 2021 budget mean for the construction industry?
The UK’s new Infrastructure Bank is designed to be the post-Brexit answer to the European Investment Bank and will launch this spring with £12bn of equity and debt capital to finance local authority and private sector infrastructure projects in the UK. Based in Leeds, it is hoped the institution will support £40bn of both private and public infrastructure projects across the UK. With Sunak confirming the institution will establish an advisory function to aid project deliver within clean energy, transport, digital, and water waste sectors, it will soon be a driving force in the green building revolution expected within the industry over the coming years.
The government has also committed £4bn for the Levelling Up Fund for England and £800m for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland over the next four years. The fund will be delivered through local authorities and focus on investment in projects requiring up to £20m of funding that align with, and support, net zero goals.
Extra funding for apprenticeships has been announced, with the incentive payment for firms hiring apprentices doubling from £1,500 to £3,000. Apprentices play a valuable key role within a thriving construction industry, providing a way of future proofing the workforce and mitigating any skills shortages within the sector. The additional funding announced by Sunak will help to recruit, educate, and retain the future leaders of the construction industry.
Tier Consult (SY) Director, Mary Quinn, welcomes the budget announcements, saying “the budget announcements show the government recognise the importance of supporting the construction industry to prosper, to aid economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. It’s great to see the government locating the National Infrastructure Bank in Leeds and championing the levelling up of areas outside of London.”