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Spring Budget is back to finance and not strategy 

While the 2023 Autumn Statement saw the Chancellor, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, stray into enabling growth through policy strategy and support, the Spring Budget 2024 was more traditional, with the ambition of growth coming through taxation, rather than business enablement. 

Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said:

“The Spring Budget offers opportunities to offset costs, invest in innovations and see paths to growth but apart from a strong hand played on energy, it doesn’t enable growth in practice. With the lack of firm planning and procurement reforms, and retrofit entirely left out, there is disquiet that the major growth opportunities will never be realised by this government.” 

Within the full budget release, the Chancellor identified that 2024 was the ‘year of the SME’ and while reduced taxation, investment allowance and investment opportunity will be welcomed, the dire state of planning policy, lack of supply ambition and numerous new taxes will, and is already seeing, SME housebuilders and regional contractors exit the sector or go out of business.

Rico Wojtulewicz, Head of Housing and Market Insight at the NFB, said:

“It’s hard to not welcome long overdue grid strategies and some announcements such as digitising and integrating AI into planning, bringing forward nutrient neutrality investment, and enabling more social housing are hugely welcomed. However, it’s all a little too late. Planning digitisation has been a key plank of our lobbying for almost a decade. Nutrient neutrality investment is the Government’s response to dropping solutions that they proposed. In addition, the increase in social and affordable housing funding feels like a stats fudge because the Chancellor realises Michael Gove’s policies are decimating the supply of market housing.” 

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