James Talman, NFRC CEO, said:
“Firstly, it is positive that full capital expensing will be made available for the next three years on plant, machinery and IT equipment. This will be of assistance to firms for investment in much-needed improvements, and it is vital that steps are taken to ensure they have the cashflow to do so. We would have liked to see an equally significant commitment to relief on any asset that improves the energy efficiency of a building, such as a new roof—particularly as retrofitting our buildings is a crucial step in meeting the government’s net zero targets.
“It will also be a relief to firms that the Energy Bill Discount Scheme will continue for another year, until 31 March 2024. Many have concerns about cashflow and this will be helpful but not sufficient to resolve the pressures placed on firms by the impacts of a period of high inflation, with businesses paying more for labour and materials as well as energy, and blighted by continued late payment. The government should evaluate what more can be done to reassure businesses that they have the cash available to weather the storm and continue to do their vital work on our homes, schools, offices and factories.
“Whilst the Chancellor made numerous announcements on getting more people into work, it is not clear that this will resolve gaping skills gaps. Roofing firms report that they are still finding it too difficult to recruit the people they need. Funding for skills needs to be focused on meeting national skills needs, and for construction the government should be ensuring everyone, regardless of where they live in the UK, can access a wide range of high quality construction training and upskilling. The announcement that roofing has been added to the Shortage Occupations List means that contractors will find it easier to access skilled labour from overseas, but in the long term the government needs to show that it is serious about preparing our domestic workforce to meet industry needs.“
"Whilst the Chancellor made numerous announcements on getting more people into work, it is not clear that this will resolve gaping skills gaps."