Autumn Statement 2016
24 November, 2016
Duncan Green, managing partner at Pick Everard, reacts to the Autumn Statement.
Duncan said: “Today’s Autumn Statement certainly treated the need to invest in the UK’s infrastructure very seriously, with the announcement of a new national productivity investment fund to inject £23 billion into innovation and the country’s infrastructure network.
“Phillip Hammond highlighted the issues the UK is facing in terms of productivity and the need for more investment to secure the long-term success of the country’s infrastructure network.
“We very much welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to upgrade the local transport network and improve infrastructure underpinning new housing developments.
It was raised that Britain doesn’t invest enough in research, development and innovation and that we must build on our strengths – making and developing what is produced in this country. We wholly support this statement and hope that the investment announced today will mean that more can be done in terms of construction and development in the UK.
“What was missing, however, was the need to invest in smaller non-infrastructure projects and SMEs in order to address the skills gap we’re facing in the industry. These projects and enterprises have the capacity to recruit and train new staff and, if we are to see larger schemes, such as HS2 or the Thames Tideway, remain on course then this is a crucial measure which needs to be addressed and the skills gap continues to be an issue.
“There was, however, the announcement of £542 million to be delegated to Local Enterprise Partnerships in the Midlands and the East of England as part of the government’s devolution plans. Specifics in terms of the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse were also not raised but there has been the promise of funding for the Midlands rail hub to increase productivity and industry growth through connectivity.
“The post-Brexit phrase ‘Britain is open for business’ was used numerous times during the statement and Mr Hammond has claimed that the infrastructure investments underpin this rhetoric. We look forward to what the Chancellor has referred to as a ‘world class infrastructure’ continuing to flourish and for the ‘firm foundation’ of the government’s industry strategy to support the economy moving forward.”