The week’s news was dominated first by the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and its associated public holiday, but later eclipsed by the first working week of the new Government and its UK Growth Plan, taking the place of an emergency Budget which sent markets into a downward spiral. The scale of borrowing and lack of forecasts on the health of the economy unsettled investors. It could force the Bank of England’s hand into making more severe moves in Base Rate than previously intended.
Despite the obvious concerns, there are some clear, good messages for the construction industry, mostly centred around the intention to unlock 138 infrastructure projects. Yet with energy costs still very high (despite recent support) and current inflation not being particularly demand-led, it is right to question what impact this commitment could have on the cost of construction, assuming that it all progresses. The news from the Mineral Products Association reaffirms that a proper, joined-up plan is needed to ensure that plans to increase output are met with proper access to the necessary goods and labour.