The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) has expressed ‘mixed feelings’ following the announcement of the 2014 Budget.
The Budget promised a ‘raft of positive measures’ for SMEs, manufacturers and exporters, but the GGF felt that Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, could have done more to support the recovery in the construction industry, in particular, with regard to improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s building stock.
Nigel Rees, GGF Group chief executive, commented: “Of course we are delighted to hear the Chancellor’s measures to help SMEs, with plans such as the creation of the Builders Finance Fund and the doubling of the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA). It was also good to see the government’s intention to fund the regeneration of housing estates and we welcome the extension to the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme.
,“However, we are disappointed that there was no movement on the VAT rate on home improvements, repair and maintenance work. In addition, the distinct lack of incentives in this Budget to encourage homeowners to invest in energy efficient home improvements was quite incredible; particularly when you consider the extremely poor uptake of the Green Deal and how ambitious the government was four years ago with its plan to reduce carbon emissions.”
Giles Willson, deputy chief executive and director of technical affairs, commented: “It was positive to hear the government’s support for apprenticeships and I hope our industry will take advantage of these measures. I was also pleased to hear the government is working on proposals to tackle fuel poverty and it will be interesting to see the new strategy after the threats of cuts last year to the ECO (Energy Company Obligation) and other energy green levies.”
Summarising, Nigel Rees said: “The first quarter of 2014 shows growth, a positive sign that the UK construction industry is emerging from arguably its toughest economic period in 20 years. We welcome the positive measures for business proposed by the Chancellor but the GGF will continue to lobby government for the benefit of our members and for the long term growth in the industry.”