UK construction and property
- Positive outlook | The latest survey by the Independent Builders Merchant Group reported that members had “too much” or “more than usual” levels of work in their pipelines and that 70% had seen stable or increasing demand, with no signs of spending slowing. Sales have been helped by the current market trend to expand living areas rather than move home.
- Pay supplement | Engineering construction workers who operate under the Blue Book agreement will see an extra £1/hour between now and 30 June, when the supplementary payment will reduce to 75p/hour.
- Plant sales grew 10% (by unit) when compared to January 2022 according to the Construction Equipment Association.
- Oxford Science Park | Plans were approved for a further 400,000 sqft of space in three buildings. The buildings are designed with minimal steel and concrete and are adaptable, flexible, and demountable.
- Planning reforms | Proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework have been met with challenges from developers who claim that it will impact the delivery of housing and infrastructure and that net zero ambitions seem to be an afterthought in the process.
- Levelling Up Fund | Spending on the Levelling Up agenda is expected to be 25% smaller than expected this year. The unspent funds are mostly for housing or housing-related projects, with planning, market turmoil, and delays to delivery blamed.
- Hospital promise | Ahead of the Budget next week, questions have been asked of the government’s commitment to build 40 new hospitals by 2030. Recent inflation is thought to have created a shortfall of nearly £2bn in the NHS capital budget.
- Vaccine centre | Moderna is moving to the UK and building research and production facilities worth £150m in Oxfordshire.
- Investment | Shell’s Chief Executive has said that Britain is less attractive for investment than the US and Europe because of a lack of green energy subsidies. he also added that the UK’s constant changes to tax “saps” conviction on investment.