Commenting on the Chancellor’s summer statement, regarding the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19, Clive Docwra, managing director at property and construction consultancy McBains, said: “The Chancellor is right: we need to instil confidence in our economy and get it moving again following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in the case of construction, it is simply not possible to just “turn on the taps” and “get Britain building”. There’s lead time, which, in many cases, is considerable – with smaller developers, in particular, still struggling with supply chain blockages, staff shortages, and provisions around social distancing.
“As a sector that has operated on tight margins, now, for some time, the long-term outlook is not great, despite the Chancellor’s promises and upbeat tone. Many developers are hesitant about committing to new projects against a backdrop of coronavirus, and it is likely the Government will need to provide ongoing support for some time to come – or, at the very least, until an effective treatment or vaccine is found.
“That being said, some of the proposals announced – such as the job retention bonus, the new “kickstart” and traineeship support schemes, and the stamp duty holiday – will provide a much-needed boost to the sector and give developers confidence that returning to full operational capacity may well be a risk worth taking.”