With warnings of a recession on the horizon, many in the industry were awaiting the Autumn Statement to find out whether publicly funded projects would continue as the Government trailed the idea that major cuts were coming down the road. Recent history has shown us that infrastructure projects are often first to be cancelled or to have delayed funding, so it was positive to see a continued commitment to projects such as Sizewell C and the Northern Powerhouse Railway. This will be good news for many contractors who have reorganised their order books to account for more public sector projects, but it also means that the high demand for materials will continue.
However, the Autumn Statement and associated OBR report were not without dark clouds. It warned that the UK was already in recession and that unemployment levels and house prices will fall (although, with some context, the current unemployment rate is historically low and the fall in prices will cancel out the increases seen this year).