Rishi Sunak has continued to put construction at the heart of the ‘Covid-19’ recovery with a pledge to invest £3bn in order to support in the region of 140,000 jobs.

A £1 billion programme is to be put in place to improve the energy efficiency of ageing public sector buildings throughout the country and a further £2bn package will provide grants for ‘greener’ homes, enabling houseowners (including landlords) to play their part in meeting climate change targets by improving the energy efficiency of existing housing stock.

It didn’t stop there with the chancellor clearly recognising that the construction sector will play a vital role in driving forward the economic recovery post coronavirus he also cut stamp duty across England and Northern Ireland, raising the threshold to £500,000 on all property sales up to March 2021, stating:

“One of the most important sectors for job creation is housing.  The construction sector adds £39 billion a year to the UK economy, with house building alone supporting nearly three quarter of a million jobs – with millions more relying on the availability of housing to find work.”

“But property transactions fell by 50% in May and house prices have fallen for the first time in eight years.  We need people feeling confident – confident to buy, sell, renovate, move and improve.  That will drive growth and create jobs.”

Matthew Pratt (the Chief Executive at Redrow), said: “We welcome today’s stamp duty holiday as a positive step to stimulate the housing market and wider economy. The measures will have a much-needed domino effect, also supporting suppliers, subcontractors and consultants to the house building industry.”

Additional schemes were also announced to aid employment, with a particular focus on ‘youth employment’:

One scheme, the Jobs Retentions Bonus, is promising payments of £1,000 to companies for each employee that they bring back staff from furlough and keep them in work until the end of January 2021. Employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021.

Another scheme, the Kickstart Scheme, involves the creation of a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.   The funding available will cover 100% of the relevant ‘national minimum wage’ for a 25 hours a week, and also cover the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.  That equates to a grant of around £6,500 for each placement.

Pledges were also made to provide £2,000 to employers for every new apprentice hired under the age of under 25 and £1,500 for apprentices over the age of 25 – between August 2020 and January 2021.

The Chancellor further stated:  “If you stand by your workers we will stand by you. Our plan has a clear goal: to protect, support and create jobs. It will give businesses the confidence to retain and hire. To create jobs in every part of our country. To give young people a better start. To give people everywhere the opportunity of a fresh start.”

Whilst there will always be detractors and some that think the chancellor should have gone further, here at Goldcross we think this is a good step in the right direction to getting the economy moving and boosting the all important construction sector.

We also think its time to start seeking and making the best of available opportunities, so make sure your training is up-to-date and that you are in the best position to take advantage of investment in the sector – who knows this may be the ideal time to consider a career change or a ‘step-up’.  If that is the case we can help, simply give one of our training advisors a call on: 0203 633 5505 or drop us an email at: bookings@goldcross-training.com to discuss your training requirements.  Alternatively go straight to our course schedule to book directly.