CLC urges Chancellor to embrace retrofit and building safety to boost construction

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has set out a raft of interventions government can make, including adopting a national retrofit strategy and expanding the Building Safety Fund, to drive growth and boost confidence in the sector.

The call came ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget expected on 3 March 2021.

In a letter to Sunak, CLC co-chair Andy Mitchell stressed construction’s importance to the economy and thanked Sunak for the government’s support in keeping sites open.

But he warned that the industry remains in “extremely challenging times” as it adapts to covid-19 rules, the impact of Brexit, the forthcoming implementation of rule changes on IR35 and the Construction Industry Scheme.

Mitchell said: “It is also important to note that by continuing to operate, the industry has suffered a serious financial impact as a result of project delays and costs incurred in adapting working practices. This has resulted in many contractual disputes which our monitoring suggests are currently growing and which will accelerate further still. We are currently quantifying the impact; however, it is reasonable to assume that without further financial support many companies will become insolvent.”

Mitchell set out a series of measures the government could take to boost construction.

They included:

  • Committing to a national retrofit strategy to help meet net zero carbon ambitions
  • An expansion of the Building Safety Fund
  • Withdrawing Reverse Charge VAT
  • Extension of employer apprenticeship incentives and Apprenticeship Levy flexibility
  • Making the Infrastructure Bank an effective vehicle for regeneration
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