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Government must show ambition in Spending Review

The Confederation of Business Industries has put out a series of policy recommendations on the actions government can take to drive a sustainable, low-carbon recovery from the pandemic. Included in the recommendations is the extension of the Green Homes Grant. This comes amid a flurry of submissions on the Comprehensive Spending Review, and joins a chorus of voices calling for the extension of the scheme, including the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) earlier in the week.

The CLC rightly put to the Chancellor that retrofit is not the only strand of the industry which will need support if we are to achieve our economic and environmental goals, and the ‘review should also consider how Government spending can best support the quality and sustainability of new homes’. Along with the CLC we note the ‘demand-side’ support for the housing sector from both the stamp duty holiday and Help to Buy will lapse in March 2021, and are keeping a close eye on what the Government will propose to avoid this ‘cliff edge’.

Any submission we make on the review will be echoing many of the CLC’s calls, with the asterix of bringing forward sustainability requirements for the new build sector while tying them to finance. We have repeatedly called for such measures in our policy responses with the Confederation of Timber Industries – including in the Future Homes Standard, which should be coming out shortly, and last years report on How the timber industries can help solve the housing crisis.

We do not doubt Chancellor Rishi Sunak will face some tough decisions in this Comprehensive Spending Review, with several promises the Government will be looking to fulfil; including stimulate the economy, managing a potentially perilous No-Deal Brexit, and maintaining the confidence of the British public. However, this is an essential time for the Government to show some real aspirations in shaping an economy which is able to step up to the challenges of the coming decade.

News round up for your week

Recognising potential across the timber industry: In this guest blog for the BWF, David Hopkins, CEO of the TTF, says vigilance is needed as we head towards the end of the Brexit transition period.

UK interest rates likely to fall below zero in 2021: The Bank of England could cut interest rates to below zero next year after officials said preparations were under way to allow the central bank to support the economy with lower borrowing costs.

CPA UK Economic and Construction update: The update finds construction output in the EU in July was 0.1% lower than in June and was 5.7% lower than in pre-COVID-19 January 2020. Also, investment bank Société Générale now puts ‘No Deal’ Brexit at 80% probability and quite a few of the other investment banks have ‘No Deal’ as the most likely outcome. To make sure your business is ready for Brexit visit our webpage: https://ttf.co.uk/brexit-and-the-timber-industry/. Latest CPA redundancy tracker.

CPA weekly notes: According to the ONS, the annual CPI inflation rate fell from 1.0% in July to a near five-year low of 0.2% in August. Also in June, house prices in the UK increased 3.4% in annual terms, up from 1.1% in May, according to the ONS/Land Registry.

CPA Webinar: Meeting the Challenges of a New Construction Landscape: This webinar will explore the challenges this new construction landscape will pose for construction product manufacturers and those using products.

The government decisions needed to deliver a green recovery: The CBI has published a set of policy recommendations on the urgent action government can take to drive a sustainable, low-carbon recovery from the pandemic.

Redrow shows sales confidence: Housing sales are likely to return to more normal levels rather than “fall off a cliff” in the coming months, according to John Tutte, Redrow’s executive chairman.

For more information, visit ttf.co.uk

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