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News archive - January 2016

Autumn budget reveals opportunities for construction industry

Autumn budget reveals opportunities for construction industry

On 25 November, the Chancellor announced the Spending Review. Here, we look at how his statement will impact on the healthcare construction sector.

The Government has pledged more than £500m to build new hospitals in Cambridge, Brighton and Sandwell.

The cash will see new, state-of-the-art facilities developed; and selling surplus estates will generate a further £2billion for reinvestment in the health service.

In the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, it was also revealed that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would receive extra cash for vital healthcare infrastructure projects as part of plans to inject an extra £10billion a year into the NHS budget.

The Budget outlined an extra £4 trillion in overall spending across all departments over the next five years, with much of this invested in the NHS, defence and housing.

Chancellor, George Osborne, said the extra money for the NHS would fund 800,000 more operations and treatments, 5.5 million more outpatient appointments, two million more diagnostic tests, improved access to GP services in the evenings and at the weekend, and seven-day access to hospital services by 2020.

He also announced that, by 2020, health and social care will be integrated across England, joining up services between social care providers and hospitals, and local authorities will be able to add 2% on council tax bills to pay towards social care in their areas.

Plus, people with suspected cancer will be diagnosed, or given the all clear, within 28 days of being referred by a GP, helping to save 11,000 lives a year.

A clear pipeline

While capital budgets will inevitably be strained, the Government is supporting the construction industry, with devolved powers across the UK countries and a clear infrastructure pipeline.

Speaking to hdm, Kirsty Duane, partner and head of infrastructure at specialist estates law firm, Nabarro, said: “The UK has topped our latest Infrastructure Index as the most-attractive place to invest globally. While this is positive news for the sector, we still need opportunities to invest, otherwise the UK could lose out to countries like the US and Canada, which are closing the gap on the UK’s lead in the Index.

“A pipeline is no good, if it is just a pipe dream. Real opportunities that are seen through to completion are what is needed for investment.”

Richard Threlfall, KPMG’s head of infrastructure building and construction, added: “The Spending Review is good news for infrastructure. The Government has again prioritised capital spending.”

But the good news comes amid concerns over skills shortages within the construction sector.

Julia Evans, chief executive of construction consultancy, the BSRIA, said: “The Spending Review could lead to thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships being created in the sector but we must, therefore, ensure that industry can indeed find the much-needed qualified and experienced construction employees to meet this demand. We must not let a labour shortage in this field impede progress.”

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