2014 Budget: Highlights
Published: 19 March, 2014
Updated: 19 March 5:15pm
The government has revealed measures to cut deficit, boost housebuilding and support British manufacture in its 2014 Budget, announced today.
“If you are a maker, a doer or a saver, this Budget is for you,” said Chancellor George Osborne, in an announcement which confirmed plans to reduce borrowing, support new homes and create “a Britain that makes things again”.
Mr Osborne revealed that the economy is recovering faster than expected, with it set to be £16bn larger than what was forecast just four months ago. In addition, deficit is predicted to be down to 6.6% this year, 5.5% next year, 4.2% in 2016, 0.8% in 2017/18, and non-existent in 2018/19.
Other Budget highlights include:
- Housebuilding is up 23% and there are plans to offer £0.5bn of finance to small housebuilding firms
- Confirmation that the Help to Buy equity scheme is to be extended to the rest of the decade
- Confirmation that there will be a new garden city built at Ebbsfleet with 15,000 new homes
- New £150m financing to be made available for small housebuilding firms
- The mortgage guarantee scheme will now run until 2016.
The government said this support combined would enable 200,000 homes to be built.
Construction and skills
- An additional £140m to help repair damaged flood defences
- A £200m fund local authorities can bid for in order to repair potholes caused by this winter's bad weather
- Plans to double the number of apprentices and support 100,000 young people to learn skills.
"Today’s Budget announcement has revealed some interesting measures taken by the government to keep the economy moving, and there are several aspects I feel will work well," said Amit Bhatia, chairman of Hope Construction Materials. “With construction regularly used as a barometer of the economy, the Right to Build policy should see significant growth in housebuilding, and with it the industries that provide the materials to do so. The £500m Builders' Finance Fund should also kickstart regeneration of social housing, leading to increased supply and growth."
He added: “The £85m increase in apprenticeship investment is also good news, and as the head of a business which has a strong focus on getting more young people into a profession, I believe it is something which will see real, long-term gains to employment."
Andrew Carpenter, chief executive of the Structural Timber Association, had the following to say: “We welcome the commitment from George Osborne that we should build more homes which offer families more aspiration.
“The proposed Ebbsfleet garden city and Barking Riverside – as well as measures to boost construction of homes – are very welcome. What is essential, however, is to ensure these homes are both sustainable and energy efficient.
“These large-scale projects offer the UK the opportunity to grasp the benefits of building in timber, which is a modern and quick method of construction that will allow the government to tick all the boxes in terms of environmental performance through construction and the life of the buildings. It offers the UK a real chance to be a leader in sustainable construction.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan Seddon, managing director of Seddon, has welcomed the Help to Buy equity loan scheme’s extension to 2020, but has expressed concern that a construction skills gap could restrict the delivery of new homes nationally.
“As a builder, Seddon is obviously pleased that the government has extended its commitment to assisting first-time buyers purchase newbuild homes, which should have a positive impact on demand, plus the news to support plans for over 200,000 new homes for families is welcomed,” he said. “However, we are concerned that many in the industry continue to ignore what is an obvious barrier to the supply of new homes [a construction skills gap] – particularly now the country is gearing up to start building again.”