George Osborne delivered his 8th Budget last month, but disappointingly revealed no major new initiatives to address the housing crisis. The budget did, however, contain a pledge of £115m to tackle homelessness, with £100m set aside for 2000 accommodation places for homeless sleepers. Also announced were plans to speed up the planning system for developers and fast track the release of public land to encourage a lift in housebuilding.
In his speech, George Osborne revealed significant spending on infrastructure, including the go ahead for new rail lines Crossrail 2 in London and the HS3 link between Manchester and Leeds. There was good news for the north of the country’s highways with £230m allocated to road improvements, plus £700m set aside for flood defences schemes. Overall, there were no big surprises, but nevertheless the budget contained some positive steps towards increased construction activity and improvement.
Meanwhile as I write, the future of Britain’s steel industry is hanging in the balance as Tata Steel has announced it is considering selling its UK steel business. Factors include high UK energy costs, climate change policies and the competition from China which, the industry claims, is being sold in the UK at unfairly low prices. Even though the company insists trading conditions have rapidly deteriorated, Labour leaders are urging the Government to intervene and take immediate action. Turn to page 7 to read just some of the reactions on social media.
Elsewhere in this issue, CA Group explains why deviating from specification can prove fatal for building owners, toilet assistive technology specialist Clos-o-mat reveals how venues can increase their share of a multi-million market by making their toilets more accessible, and Solicitor David Brown uncovers the differences between Collateral Warranties and Third Party Rights.
I hope you enjoy this issue. Don’t forget, you can also access all of the magazine’s features, product news and supplier information at your fingertips via Future Constructor & Architect’s state-of-the-art app. To download your version free of charge, simply search ‘fc&a’ on Google play or the App Store.