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Industry response to Autumn Statement

Autumn Statement

Trade associations broadly welcome Chancellor’s announcements on infrastructure and housing

IN his first Autumn Statement, the new Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced that there would be £1.1 billion extra investment in English local transport networks, plus £220 million to reduce traffic pinch points. He also said £23 billion would be spent on innovation and infrastructure over five years.

On housing, Mr Hammond promised a £2.3 billion housing infrastructure fund to help provide 100,000 new homes in high-demand areas, as well as a further £1.4 billion to deliver 40,000 extra affordable homes.


In response to the announcements, the Mineral Products Association (MPA) said it welcomed the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, but stressed that the delivery of projects must be the key government focus.

The Association’s chief executive, Nigel Jackson, commented: ‘The MPA had called for a boost in infrastructure and investment, an acceleration of local road projects, and for flexible rules to allow the delivery of more affordable housing, so action on these areas in the Autumn Statement is very welcome.

‘The Government’s pledge to invest in infrastructure to improve access to and unlock sites for housing development is also positive for our industry. However, we do need to see early action.’

Mr Jackson continued: ‘There is an 18-month window of opportunity to really progress smaller-scale local roads and transport projects before the major spend associated with the Highways England programme and other major infrastructure projects starts to kick in.

‘The industry has the capacity, the need is there and early investment in local projects would deliver very strong economic returns. We really need to get on with this work and avoid any backloading of spending plans.’

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) gave the Autumn Statement a cautious welcome. Its chairman, Alan Mackenzie, said: ‘We are reassured that the Chancellor has recognized the importance of investment in road infrastructure to stimulate productivity and growth, but the devil is, of course, in the detail.

‘Long-term underfunding means that the local road network continues to deteriorate at a faster rate than it can be repaired. We hope the decline in maintenance funding experienced by local highways teams will be addressed by real and measurable increases.’

The Construction Products Association said that, overall, it was encouraged by the announcements made in the Autumn Statement and the positive impact that the delivery of these will have on UK construction product manufacturers and distributors.

Dr Diana Montgomery, chief executive of the Association, remarked: ‘While many of the points raised by the Chancellor were trailed during the party conference, we welcome the Government’s commitment to infrastructure, innovation and housing investment as necessary components of a strong, resilient economy whilst helping to address the challenge of lagging productivity.

‘In terms of housing, we appreciate the commitment to £3.7 billion of new spending on housing projects in England. Approximately £2.3 billion of this will be spent on the infrastructure related to housing developments, such as roads and unlocking public land, and £1.4 billion will be to deliver 40,000 additional affordable homes.

‘The key, however, will be how these announcements feed through to delivery on the ground, and our members will only have the confidence to make further investments when this is the case.’


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