ECA CEO welcomes infrastructure and energy efficiency investment in Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

He said, ‘This investment will provide a shot in the arm for the construction and electrical contracting sectors, and its benefits – job creation, training and rise in available apprenticeship places – will be felt across the entire economy.’

Bratt applauded the announcement of £90m to improve the energy efficiency of schools, hospitals and other public sector buildings, describing it as ‘a move which will benefit the environment and the end user, and reinvigorate key markets for energy efficiency.’

He continued, ‘The increase in the Housing Revenue Account borrowing limit will give local authorities scope to commission more work to maintain their housing stock. Hopefully this will encourage them to invest in energy efficiency measures that will benefit residents by increasing the lifespan and quality of their homes and create work for building services contractors.’

The cap on business rates will provide relief for firms of all sizes, he said, adding, ‘Business rates have been a serious drain on many companies, especially those who are still struggling. The decision to cap them is welcome and will reduce outgoings and hopefully speed up recovery.’  

Bratt described the Business Tax Relief scheme as ‘a crucial helping hand for SMEs. Businesses of this size are in a majority in our industry, and by reducing their outgoings, funds will be freed up for business owners to invest in the future of their companies.’

Bratt continued, ‘The announcement of energy efficiency grants of up to £1,000 for future home buyers to spend on energy saving measures or up to £4,000 for particularly expensive measures is welcome and should help stimulate work for the energy efficiency sector.’

However, he warned this could cause confusion if the initiative was not well communicated. ‘We should not forget that we already have existing schemes, such as the Green Deal which needs better promotion and take-up. While more initiatives are welcome, they must be well thought out, well promoted and offer a real incentive to the consumer.’

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