Contract Scotland welcomes the additional funds that the Chancellor has committed to house building and infrastructure today, especially given the downturn in the construction industry across the UK in the last two quarters.
We also clearly welcome the additional £34 million that has been allocated to developing construction skills across the country, skills which are sorely needed given the existing skills shortage and the as yet unknown fate of the 175,000 EU nationals that the RICS projects work in our industry. Whether those skills can be delivered in time remains to be seen.
We also welcome the additional £2bn that will accrue to the Scottish Government as a result of measures announced in this budget and would call on the Scottish Government to make similar commitments to housebuilding, infrastructure and construction skills in Scotland.
All of that said, the various challenges the industry faces right now and in 2018 were never likely to have been addressed solely by today’s Budget. With Gleeds’ latest market survey finding that concerns over Brexit have “intensified considerably” since their last report, and with respondents listing “reduced foreign investment, higher import prices, restrictions on trade and labour movement, and a general destabilising caused by uncertainty” as their main worries ahead of the new year, the industry would almost certainly benefit more from the government making meaningful progress in talks with the EU27 in respect of out our future relationship with the EU, than it will from anything contained in today’s budget. The industry and the wider economy needs certainty over our future every bit as much as it needs handouts.
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